In the news: Tens of thousands flee fighting in Aleppo city

Syria, Turkey

February 9, 2016

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  • As fighting in Aleppo worsens, tens of thousands of people are fleeing towards Turkey and need critical food and emergency supplies. Photo: Corinna Robbins/Mercy Corps

Fighting has intensified in and around Aleppo city — formerly Syria’s commercial hub and the country’s largest city before the war — and has severely hampered humanitarian access.

As the fighting rages on, tens of thousands of people are fleeing towards the Turkish border in search of safety. An estimated 30,000 Syrians are already gathered on the border at Bab al-Salam, near the Turkish city of Kilis, waiting to find out if they’ll be let into Turkey.

Mercy Corps staff and our local partners are meeting Syrians at this border area with food baskets and other emergency supplies.

On the ground near the Turkey border

The border into Turkey is closed, so Syrian families are waiting in camps on the Syrian side. Some are able to sleep in tents there — others are left outside in the cold winter temperatures.

The population of these camps has effectively doubled in recent days, and many fear that this is only the beginning if the fighting in Aleppo continues to worsen. Hundreds of thousands of people remain in Aleppo governorate, under continuous bombardment.

As many as 300,000 people could be trapped, or forced to flee through dangerous routes towards Turkey, at any time.

The increased fighting makes the delivery of emergency food and supplies to Syrian families even more dangerous. "The main route from the north into Aleppo city has been cut off," Mercy Corps’ team member Christy Delafield told The Washington Post from Gaziantep, Turkey.

"We are able to continue distributing pre-positioned food and other supplies for now. We cannot estimate how long those supplies will last and when we can next get a shipment in. Other routes are still open but these roads are unpredictable and risky."

Mercy Corps has the second-largest operation in northern Syria, next to the United Nations, and has provided food to roughly 500,000 people each month. For some families, this assistance is their only source of food.

As the situation develops, our team remains committed to helping Syrian families trapped in the ongoing violence.

How you can help

  • Donate today. Every single contribution helps us provide even more food, water, shelter and support to Syrian refugees and families in crisis around the world.
  • Tell your friends. Share this story and spread the word about the millions of people who need us.
  • Start a campaign. You can turn knowledge into action by setting up a personal fundraising page and asking your friends and family to contribute to our efforts to help Syrians fleeing the war.
  • Stay informed. Read more stories about our work and those we are helping on our Syria crisis response page. You can also learn more about our focus on protecting Syria’s children.