Haram, northwest Syria — When we crossed over the border from Turkey into Syria, we knew the situation was going to be bad. But the situation is horrendous.
We found a housing project that had been home to more than 1,000 people. Rescue workers sifting through the rubble of the building told us 800 of the residents died when the monster earthquakes struck on February 6, just to the north, across the border in Turkey.
There’s been precious little help for the quake victims on the Syrian side of the border since the disaster. Much of northern Syria is still held by rebels who’ve fought President Bashar Assad’s troops in a brutal civil war for well over a decade. Only on Monday did Assad agree to open two more border crossings into the country from Turkey, to let aid flow in more quickly.
The United Nations confirmed Tuesday that the first of its aid convoys — 11 trucks backed with emergency humanitarian goods and personnel — had crossed into northwest Syria through the newly-opened Bab al-Salameh border post.
But it’s still just a trickle of help for tens of thousands of people who need virtually everything. We saw residents digging through earthquake rubble with their bare hands, trying to recover whatever they could — and whoever they could.
Circumstances in northern Syria after the earthquakes are terrible, but it’s been horrible here for years.
Thousands of those hit by the quake in the north of the country had already been displaced by the war. Their lives were incredibly bleak many felt forgotten by the world. Now, after the quakes, they say they feel they’ve been forgotten about all over again.
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