Turkey is hosting 150,000 Syrian refugees in camps run under national auspices, rather than the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. U.S. aid experts say the camps are of a higher standard than U.N. facilities. Some 40,000 Syrians are waiting on the other side of the border until new camps are completed, and 50,000 are living in Reyhanli and other towns on the local economy, according to Turkish diplomatic officials.
Everything you need for life is in short supply in Syria, Yorgancioglu told McClatchy. They need food, baby formula, water, medicines, blankets. And ironically, each rebel advance brings more hardship for the population, he said. When ground forces lose territory, the government responds with aerial bombardment, in what U.S. officials have termed a collective punishment.
Based on the petitions that arrive daily at the IHH from liberated towns and villages, the charity estimates that rebels now control 70 percent of the country some 14 million of the population of 23 million -- far more than the international community is geared to support. (Turkish and American officials use a slightly lower estimate for rebel control 60 to 70 per cent).
U.S. aid officials, noting that American aid to displaced people in Syria flows through channels other than the IHH, said the international community at most was providing 30 percent of what Syrians needed.
Syrias revolution, which began with peaceful demonstrations in March 2011 and turned violent after the government used lethal force, is far and away the most violent of the struggles of the Arab awakening. Opposition figures fear that the violence might go on for months to come, and massive destruction is on view just across the border.
Government bombings have devastated the town of Idlib, whose population of 100,000 has been swollen by some 200,000 internally displaced people, according to an official from a international aid agency, who asked not to be identified because he wasnt authorized to speak to a reporter. Despair has driven many Syrians to abandon their homes even though they lack the means to live anywhere else.
Abu Tariq, 58, a farmer, showed up at the IHH office on Thursday, bringing with him a son, a daughter and his 47-year-old wife, who uses a wheelchair.
Weve been here 22 days. Youve promised help. Weve gotten nothing, he said to the IHHs Ahmet Weis. Living in a one-room unheated basement flat rented for $125 a month, theyve had to rely on neighbors for their meals. Weis wrote out a voucher giving them five mattresses and a box of food.
The stress showed on the faces of Abu Tariq and his wife, whom hed wheeled more than two miles across town to deliver his appeal in person. He said the family had abandoned their modest house in Idlib because of the bombing.
Abu Zeid, a 32-year-old tailor from Damascus, has had to move his family repeatedly to survive. They left the Syrian capital because of the waves of arrests and random bombings there, and went to a village in the countryside, where police came and began arresting people on suspicion of being anti-government. After two months they fled to Binnish, near Idlib, to a house his father had purchased years back.
Two days later, they bombed the house, he said, and after another bombing run last week, nothing is left of it.
Today Abu Zeid and 35 other men, women and children from six families occupy three unheated rooms in a run-down part of Reyhanli which they rent for $225 a month. Hes nearly broke, and the only income he and his brother have is from working for the IHH every third day.
The help from IHH is not enough, he said. On the days we work, there is food. On other days there is no food.