Winter in Syria: A Mother’s Worst Nightmare

Iman fled the violence in Syria with her four children, but when she thought they were safe – they came under attack from a threat they couldn’t escape: winter.
Published on
November 1, 2017

The brutal war in Syria has devastated Iman’s life. Exposed to years of horrific violence and conflict, she lost her husband and her home.

She was forced to flee Aleppo with nothing but her four children. But last year, just when Iman thought they were safe, they came under attack from a threat they couldn’t escape: the cold.

As temperatures plummeted, their make-shift shelter could not protect them from the snow storms and freezing temperatures. Wet, cold and without warm clothing, her children were helpless against the harshness of winter.

Iman’s baby was the first to die. He froze to death while she desperately tried to warm his milk. Then just weeks later, her young daughter passed away. Already weak from hunger, she was unable to fight sickness caused by living in the cold, damp shelter.

Sadly, this nightmare is a reality for millions of Syrian families. And right now, another bitter winter looms.

Makeshift shelters dot the snow-covered landscape at a camp for internally displaced people in rural Quneitra, Syrian. January 2017.

Countless families have been displaced across Syria and surrounding countries. And desperate for refuge, many have no choice but to live in exposed make-shift shelters or tents which provide little relief to the cold, ice and snow.

As another deadly winter nears, over 1.5 million children face freezing temperatures with no way of keeping warm. They don’t have coats or gloves – some are even having to walk barefoot in the snow. Without blankets and warm clothing, these children will struggle to survive.

UNICEF is working around the clock to source and deliver winter clothing before the worst weather hits. But as each day passes, the urgency to get supplies to the most vulnerable and hard to reach children increases.

Iman and her two remaining sons now live in a camp for displaced people within Syria. And with UNICEF support, they’ve received the warm clothing, thermal blankets and medicine needed to keep them safe and warm this winter.

“I live for my children,” says Iman. “I pray for a better life for them.”

Her two boys play cheerfully around her as she speaks. But we cannot forget the vulnerable children who need our urgent help today.  

Your support can help ensure that the tragic circumstances which claimed the lives of Iman’s son and daughter do not happen again.

Just $21 can give 3 thermal blankets to protect children from the cold.

Please donate today and help save a child’s life.