Children in Idlib, Syria deprived of toys and games in the midst of war

A toy store in a tent camp in northwestern Syria’s Idlib province displays colorful toys and plush toys that children in the area can only dream of because their parents cannot. afford to buy anything but bread amid the ongoing civil war and a collapsing economy.

Muhammed Quteish, a Syrian displaced by attacks by the Bashar Assad regime two years ago, opened a toy store in the camp where he took refuge.

Quteish told Anadolu (AA) agency that he opened the store on a loan.

“The toy store relaxes me. It distracts me from the dust and mud. Even if it is only a short time, it makes me forget the pains I have experienced, ”he said, adding that even toys are not enough to alleviate the suffering of displaced children.

Ahmed Khatib, 13, who lives in one of the makeshift tents, said her family cannot afford toys and can only buy bread when they have enough. money.

Khatib, like the other children, said he would like to have toys and especially a bicycle.

Adnan Muhammed, a 10-year-old who wants a soccer ball, said: “I wish not only me but all the children in the tents had toys.

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Muhammed Quteish, a Syrian displaced by Bashar Assad’s regime, opened a toy store in northwestern Syria’s Idlib province on February 12, 2021 (AA Photo)

Conditions in the tent camps are difficult as the camps are frequently flooded due to the rains and it is impossible to stay warm during the winter. Heavy rains last month flooded 110 tents belonging to displaced civilians, affecting 50,000 people. Another danger is that civilians risk their lives and health by burning old clothes, nylon and plastic for warmth, resulting in various respiratory illnesses such as asthma and bronchitis.

Meanwhile, Turkish aid organizations have stepped up their efforts in the Idlib region, sending basic necessities, including heating equipment and food.

Five trucks of flour as well as a truck of potatoes were sent to Syria from the central province of Kayseri in Turkey. As part of the campaign of the Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) and the Turkiye Diyanet Foundation (TDV), aid was collected from philanthropists and sent to the needy in Syria. Provincial mufti Şahin Güven, speaking at the ceremony, said they send aid materials every month.

On the other hand, another aid organization in southern Adana and philanthropists sent 10 trucks of food, water and heat to tent camps in Idlib.

Nearly a million people have fled the Assad regime’s offensive on Idlib – the last opposition stronghold – since December 2019 and many have sought refuge in overcrowded tent camps near the Turkish border. A fragile truce was negotiated between Moscow and Ankara in March 2020 in response to months of fighting with the Russian-backed regime, but frequent attacks on civilians continue, preventing most from returning home and forcing them to seek refuge. in makeshift camps.

Almost a decade after the start of the war, Syria is grappling with an economic crisis made worse by Western sanctions, a coronavirus lockdown and a rapid devaluation of the local currency.

War has devastated the country’s economy since 2011, pushing 80% of its population into poverty, according to the United Nations. Despite relative calm on the country’s remaining battlefields, 2020 has only seen the situation worsen. Much of the economy in areas controlled by the regime was shut down last March to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Over the past year, residents of areas controlled by the regime have faced fuel crises, a plummeting Syrian pound on the black market, and sharp price hikes. Damascus blamed Western sanctions for its struggling economy.

Last summer, local authorities in Idlib began replacing the plummeting Syrian pound with the Turkish lira in a bid to protect their region from economic collapse.

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