#With_Idlib Part III

Q: Please introduce yourself.

A: My name is Omar. I am 24 years old. I currently live in Maarat Nouman.

Q: What is the current situation in Idlib?

A: In general, the past 10 days, the Syrian government has led an onslaught on Southern and Eastern Rural Idlib and Northern Rural Hama. It has been a huge push but we didn't think that it would ever get this bad. We have never seen anything of this sort or this level of attacks or displacement. We are at a point now where organizations have paused their work and schools have been closed. Everyone is really afraid of what is to come. The regime forces is now only 40 km away from us and people are all moving towards the border. To get a better picture, there is 100 KM between Eastern Rural Idlib and the border-along that road there are families scattered under trees as they move their way to safety. People are staying in the cars and in the streets.

Q: How has the security situation impacted peoples' daily lives?

A:  I saw with my own eyes a family that was literally about to freeze to death because they had nowhere to go. The Education Ministry is now discussing the option of opening the schools up to house displaced people because there is no place for people to find refuge. People are running from death to death. In one place they are going to die from missile attacks and when they leave their homes they are dying from the cold-a slow death. We are now feeling that we would rather die at home then be displaced.

Q: At least 8 hospitals have been targeted – how are people being treated?

A: Yes there have been attacks in hospitals. People who are now working in the hospitals are 100% risking their lives-because they have to. Without them, any wound from the air attacks can kill someone so they have to move forward. There have also been smaller medical points to mitigate the risks of attacks.

Q: Idlib was a place of refuge for people that fled Aleppo around this time last year, now those same famiies have become twice displaced – where are people fleeing to now?

A: People are only going to the border because they see it as the safest area because the Syrian regime most likely will not strike there. The border towns are overflowing with people now-it is a crazy sight to see. 

   A displaced child at the Atamah camp on the Syrian-Turkish border. Over 20,000 families are now living here. Photograph: Yahya Nemah/EPA

 A displaced child at the Atamah camp on the Syrian-Turkish border. Over 20,000 families are now living here. Photograph: Yahya Nemah/EPA

Q: How frequent has the bombardment been – over the last year, Idlib has seen multiple attacks – how is this different?

A: This time is different than previous attacks because it is clearly a military onslaught and we are afraid the regime is going to come take over the areas we live in. We used to be the place where people would find refuge in and now WE don’t know where to go. We are souls, we have families and lives. Everyone used to come to us from Homs, Damascus or Aleppo but now our options are only moving towards the border and waiting for tents to keep us warm.

Q: What can people do to help?

A: I don't think there is that anyone can do anything. People have  left their homes and their dignity. No one can do anything.

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