When Rana fled from Idlib with her five children, she went at night.

She thought it would be safer for her to move from the city, which has been at the centre of intense conflict since the end of March, under the cover of darkness.

“I felt that death was following us everywhere,” she said. “We did not imagine that we would survive.”

The 40-year-old woman managed to make it to a nearby village, where she and her children, aged from three to 13, managed to sleep under the shelter of some nearby olive trees. They were not alone; at the village, they met up with other displaced families who had fled the city. All came together under the trees.

Finding support from Islamic Relief

The following morning, Rana* and her children moved north again, settling in one of camps near the Turkish border where Islamic Relief was able to help them.

Rana and her family in Syria

Rana and her family in Syria

“We were given a tent to live in and were provided with some basic items,” she said.

“Life in the camp is not that bad, but nothing compares to our home where we had everything we needed. War has deprived us of the decent life that we used to have, but here, we are away from the bombing and that is good.”

Islamic Relief’s winterisation programme ended in March. During this time we provided more than 58,000 blankets, 31,000 items of warm clothing plus 35,000 warm coats, and nearly 4,000 plastic sheets to displaced Syrian families. The items helped them to stay warm and dry during the harsh winter months when temperatures reached -7C (19F).

We are now focussing on our year-round intervention, providing internally displaced people (IDPs) in Syria and refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq with tents, food, clothes, water, sanitation, kitchen sets and medicine.

Rana added: “I live alone with my children, and worry about their needs and their future. I don’t have enough money to get them food and good clothes so I was very pleased when Islamic Relief provided a new tent for me and my children.”

There are currently an estimated 7.6 million IDPs in Syria, plus nearly four million Syrians registered as refugees in nearby countries. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights recently said more than 220,000 Syrians had died since conflict broke out.

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*Name changed for security reasons