A city under the shadow of war, wailing sirens: Idlib
İdris Emen – IDLIB
After Syrian regime forces gained control in many villages and towns in the south of the last rebel bastion of Idlib, hundreds of thousands of people are stuck in the country’s northwestern region, living in dire conditions and lacking basic needs.
Some Idlib residents found the opportunity to migrate to areas close to the Turkish border, while others took refuge in an abandoned prison, factories or schools that they consider safe.
“About 150 people stay here. We need food, cleaning and heating materials. We are cold because there is no coal. Children get sick often,” says Hasan İbrahim, a civilian staying with his family in an eight-square-meter prison cell whose iron bars have been removed.
One of those who took refuge in another cell of the prison is 80-year-old Ashwa Mustafa and her spouse, who is a bedridden patient.
“We hit the road at this age. We barely came here and have no power to migrate again,” she says.
There are five hospitals in Idlib trying to serve civilians. However, only one of them can be operated and at least 200 children come to the hospital every day.
The hospital is trying to treat people with limited opportunities, it needs diesel fuel, medicines and medical supplies.
Pickup trucks are used in place of ambulances in the city. The beds of the trucks are full of people injured in the bombing in Saraqib.
While the treatments of those injured mildly are done in the emergency unit, the seriously injured are taken to the operating room, where equipment and amenities are very limited.
In Idlib city center, which is relatively safer than the surrounding settlements, people try to continue their routine lives despite the war.
The people of Idlib, who are nervously shopping in the bazaar of the city, frequently check the sky to see if there is a threat. When the sirens informing that the planes are coming wail, the streets rapidly become empty.
“We live in terrible conditions. I try to put my kids to sleep with the fear that we will be bombarded at any moment,” says a woman buying toys for her son from street vendors.
“While walking in the city, I constantly look up to see if there are any planes in the sky,” she added.
Meanwhile, support meetings are held in Idlib very often.
People of all ages are waving Turkish flags, while holding a large banner, reading, “The people of Idlib are asking the Turkish army to protect civilians.”