Airstrike destroys 90% of Idlib province camp, 200 displaced families homeless again

AMMAN: A missile struck a small encampment for displaced Syrians, igniting a fire that burned through 90 percent of the camp and left more than 200 families with nowhere to live, the camp’s director and the Idlib Civil Defense told Syria Direct on Thursday.  

At 4:30 Wednesday afternoon, a missile fired by an unidentified warplane struck a tent in the Aleppo One displaced persons camp, “dozens of meters” south of the Turkish border, said Abu Khaled, the camp’s director.

The missile killed a young girl and injured nine others, Muhammad Khader of the Jisr Media Center, a collection of pro-opposition journalists in Idlib province, told Syria Direct on Thursday.

  Idlib Civil Defense extinguishes fires in the Aleppo One camp on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Idlib Civil Defense.

After the missile exploded, a blaze swept through the camp, said Aleppo One resident Abu Wael, whose tent was burned. “People grabbed their families and ran.”

The fire "almost completely destroyed” the camp, said Abu Wael on Thursday from the olive grove near the camp, where he and others have sought refuge. 

Following the fire in Aleppo One, some 200 families sought refuge in nearby camps, with the rest taking refuge under trees in a nearby olive grove.

The Othman bin Afan organization, an Idlib-based aid group, provided mattresses to families displaced by the fire and currently scattered under trees in the nearby olive grove. An estimated 10–15 families remain inside the camp, Abu Wael told Syria Direct.

Three hours before the missile targeted the Aleppo One camp, a separate airstrike hit the al-Wafaa camp for displaced persons, just 3km away. Syria Direct could not verify the number of people living in both camps, but an Idlib Civil Defense spokesman said on Thursday that 15 tents were burned in Aleppo One in the aftermath of the strike.

 Members of the Idlib Civil Defense examine the damage inside the Aleppo One camp on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Abu Khaled.

Wednesday’s attacks come one week after several airstrikes targeted the al-Maaratah camp in central Idlib province near the city of Maaret a-Numan, about 50 kilometers south of the Aleppo One camp. The al-Maaratah attack left 130 of its 2,000 residents “homeless,” Syria Direct reported last Thursday.

“Thank God we got through the night—but it was very, very difficult,"  displaced Aleppo One resident Abu Khaled told Syria Direct. “We just have the clothes on our backs.”

“There’s no safe place left for people."

Additional reporting by Alaa Rateb.

 

Noura Hourani

Noura Hourani studied English Literature at Tishreen University and previously worked as a private English tutor. She left Syria at the beginning of the conflict.

Justin Clark

Justin studied Arabic at Western Michigan University. He continued his studies at Bethlehem University in the West Bank and the Qasid Institute in Jordan. Justin's work and studies have taken him to Jordan, the West Bank, Egypt and Greece.

Rahaf Abazaid

Originally from Daraa province, Rahaf moved to Jordan in 2013. She was unable to finish her studies in pharmacy due to the war.