The Levant News – – “We barely managed to escape with our lives when IS attacked in the middle of the night. Shells fell like rain. We rushed to put on our clothes and we fled the town amid clashes.” Said Abu Sami who was sitting in front of his tent in the periphery of Deir Jamal, in the countryside of northern Aleppo.
Abu Sami is one of the thousands displaced in August from the towns of northern Aleppo near the line of contact between the opposition forces and the IS.
Hawar Killis, Tlalin, Kafra, Marea, Umm Hawsh, Herbel and dozens of other towns and villages in the northern Aleppo countryside have been emptied of their populations by IS attacks ongoing since Aug. 9.
During the month of August, IS was able to seize control of five towns and villages from Syrian opposition fighters in the northern countryside of Aleppo, including the village of Tlalin, from which Abu Sami was displaced after a violent attack on Aug. 14.
IS’ car bombs, mortar shells and toxic gases prompted the population to flee, Abu Sami said. “Most of the residents of my village had fled earlier because of the falling shells and the sudden eruption of battles, but I stayed until the recent IS attack, which ended with the organization taking control over my village,” he explained.
Near Abu Sami’s tent there were dozens of scattered others, all newly erected as temporary shelters following IS attacks on the northern countryside of Aleppo. The displaced had no other option, as the Turkish authorities have kept the border with Syria closed since March 9.
“What do we need? We need blankets, clean water and supplies,” Abu Sami answered. “We came out of our homes without being able to bring anything with us. All I wanted was to rescue my children and wife.”
Others were luckier and found homes in the towns of the northern and western Aleppo countryside, distant from the battles.
On Sept. 1, the opposition-affiliated Free Aleppo Governorate Council declared the northern countryside of Aleppo “a disaster area” and called on the Friends of the Syrian People and other relief organizations to provide the necessary support to contain the crisis.
The general coordinator of the Aleppo Humanitarian Emergency Room, Hossam el-Din Fa’el, explained that about 3,000 families have been displaced from the northern countryside of Aleppo and that almost half of them have taken refuge in camps in the Turkish border region, while the other half went to the northern and western Aleppo countryside.
Fa’el’s group, a coordination network set up in June between local and international relief organizations that includes 26 organizations, is responding to urgent humanitarian cases.
Fa’el told Al-Monitor, “The displaced people in the countryside of Aleppo mainly ask for basic materials for their shelters. These include mattresses, blankets and household items.” He pointed out a severe lack of “sponges and cleaning materials.”
IS’ ongoing attacks in Aleppo’s countryside are displacing ever more civilians, whose lives have become a living hell in the absence of relief aid inside the country and in light of Turkey’s continued border closure.