With refugee camps full, the Turkish border closed, and local rents too high, families fleeing from Islamic State advances on the town of Marea have resorted to living in open-air camps on farmland in the northern Aleppo countryside, as depicted in a photo circulated by an opposition activist on Tuesday.
“We have started living outside because we can’t afford the villages of the countryside, where the rent is $75 for one room,” said Abu Abdu, a resident who fled with his family from Marea and is now staying on a part of the farmland he furnished with rugs and blankets, told a reporter from the Syrian Press Center.
“We don’t have nearly enough money,” said Abu Abdu, adding that no aid organization is operating in the area.
“We haven’t gotten help from any food organization, not even the Red Crescent, and the border with Turkey is closed to us,” he added.
Over 700 families began fleeing their homes as IS forces closed in on Marea, capturing several neighboring villages on Thursday and inspiring fears of IS further advances and shelling, reported the Aleppo Media Center.
The shelling on Marea has included rockets reportedly loaded with chemical gas, according to several claims from opposition activists.
Although there are camps for displaced Syrians along the Turkish border, they are now closed, activists say.
“Most camps are closed to the Syrians because of their numbers, they aren’t able to accept this amount of displaced people and these people can’t rent houses in cities because they are very expensive,” said Mahmoud Shihabi, an activist from Marea.
Families stuck in these makeshift open-air camps are despondent, says Shihabi.
“In some cases there are families whose boys are still on the front fighting IS while the women are children have fled to these farmlands.”
– Photo courtesy of nedalll621