North Syria snowstorm damages 139 IDP camps: White Helmets

North Syria snowstorm damages 139 IDP camps: White Helmets
2 min read
25 January, 2022
More than 1,200 tents were fully or partially damaged by the snowstorm that hit Idlib and Aleppo provinces on Sunday night, the White Helmets said.
The White Helmets said 400 tents were fully damaged and 850 tents partially damaged by the storm [Getty]

At least 139 displacement camps have been damaged as a result of heavy snowstorms in northern Syria, according to the Syrian Civil Defence, better known as the White Helmets.

More than 1,200 tents have been fully or partially damaged due to the storm which hit Idlib and Aleppo provinces on Sunday night, the humanitarian response group said in a statement on Monday.

This puts internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Idlib at risk of losing their last place of refuge.

"The international community must put pressure on the regime and Russia, and shouldn't be satisfied with the catastrophic consequences of displacement without ending the problem and holding the regime accountable," the volunteer organisation said.

Many families have lost access to drinking water and heating materials, a member of the White Helmets told The New Arab's Arabic-language service, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

Snow has covered some roads in rural northwest Syria, cutting off dozens of camps and villages from aid and supplies.

The blockages are also hampering IDP access to medical care.

"What worries us most is cases of sickness that need immediate transfer to hospitals... we will not be able to transfer [them]... due to road cuts," Ali al-Youssef, a displaced person in Afrin told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

The White Helmets say they have been working at full capacity to restore road access.

There are around 1,489 camps in northern Syria inhabited by roughly 1.5 million IDPs who left their homes over the course of the decade-long Syrian civil war, in which hundreds of thousands of civilians have died.