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Weather exacerbates humanitarian situation in north-western Syria

The humanitarian situation for hundreds of thousands of refugees in north-western Syria has worsened due to fresh snowfall.
Around the cities of Idlib and Aleppo, thousands of tents were damaged or destroyed, Syria country director of the Welthungerhilfe organization, Else Kirk, told dpa on Tuesday.
“The situation for the people in the camps is devastating. Their mattresses are wet and cannot be dried, there is a lack of blankets.
Many refugees also have no money to heat their homes in the cold winter temperatures,” Kirk added.
According to the United Nations, around 250,000 people in need in the region are affected by snow, rain and low temperatures.
There have been “real horror scenes” in the past few days as a result of the extremely cold weather, United Nations Deputy Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis, Mark Cutts, said on Monday.
“Our humanitarian workers have been pulling people out from under these collapses tents,” he said.
Many of these people do not have shovels or other equipment to clear the snow and have been using their bare hands, Cutts explained.
The north-western region is the last rebel-stronghold in the country.
Around 2.8 million refugees live there, most of them in camps, according to the UN.
The Syrian conflict began in March 2011 with anti-government protests against President Bashar al-Assad, which turned into a civil war.
Forces loyal al-Assad currently control about 70 per cent of Syria’s territory.