Without transport, thousands of Homs families trapped amidst air strikes

The regime-Russian joint aerial campaign has shifted towards southeastern Homs after the Islamic State captured the town of Mahin, 10 kilometers east of the regime-controlled Damascus-Homs highway over the weekend. The airstrikes havekilled dozens of civilians—16 Syrians alone when a bakery in the nearby village of Quraytan was bombed on Monday—and pushed tens of thousands more to flee.

Qadour Ibn Mahin, a resident of Mahin who has stayed behind despite the bombardment, tells Syria Direct’s Ghalia Mukhalalati that many families, unable to secure transportation to get away, are left stuck in cities under bombardment. He estimated that more than 40,000 people have already fled.

“We are appealing to bus drivers and people with pickup trucks to transport fleeing people by offering them SP250,000 [$1,300].”

Q: Where are the people fleeing to? Do you have an idea of their numbers?

People from Mahin and Huwarayn are going to the closest nearby village, Quraytayn, and if they can secure transportation, then they [get on the M5 Damascus-Homs highway] and move south to Damascus. Others go north towards A-Raqqa. People from Quraytan itself are also fleeing in these directions.

Q: How are people getting transportation to get away?

Some families have cars, so they can go directly where they want. We [he and his friends] are appealing to bus drivers and people with pickup trucks to transport fleeing people by offering them SP250,000 [$1,300 USD], and we are collecting the money by talking to Gulf donors. It is worth noting that there are still many families in Mahin and Huwarayn under bombardment who don’t have cars to get away.

Q: What is the situation on the ground?

The people fleeing have only the clothes on their back. Even Quraytayn, where people are heading to, isn’t much safer because there is bombing there as well.

Ghalia Muhkalalati

Ghalia Muhkhalalati holds a degree in computer science, where she attained the third highest grade in Syria for her year. She worked as a private teacher for displaced persons when the revolution began and arrived in Jordan in 2013.