It was just several years ago that Syria was helping refugees from the fighting in Iraq. Now it is Syrians taking refuge in Iraq and other countries as the war between rebels and President Assad's forces continues.
Victoria Nuland, spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, said this week, "For nearly two years, the Assad regime has brutalized its own people...Assad has lost all legitimacy and must step aside to enable a political solution and a democratic transition that meets the aspirations of the Syrian people."
Syrians are fleeing daily to Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, and Jordan. Not only do they have to fight hunger but also cold weather.
Um Raed, a mother who recently arrived at Zaatari camp in Jordan, said, “It’s cold, unbelievably cold. My son has only a short sleeved shirt – the clothes he had on when we escaped our country."
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees is trying to provide shelter, blankets, and clothing for the refugees. This has not been an easy task with hundreds of thousands of Syrians in need and funding low.
This month storms hit the Zaatari camp, flooding and blowing over tents. Syrians who had just gone through the trauma of being displaced from their homeland were dealt another blow. Conditions will continue to be tough for the coming winter months.
Laure Chadraoui, a spokesperson for the UN World Food Programme in Jordan (WFP), said, "The temperature drops here as low as minus two or minus three [Celsius] sometimes, especially at night." WFP gives food aid to the refugees.
Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, currently home to 30,000 Syrians who have fled recent fighting in the country. Some 75% of the camp's inhabitants are women and children. (WFP/Jonathan Dumont)