Jadaris, Syria – In Jandaris, in northwest Syria’s Aleppo province, residents scrambled to find and pick up remnants of their lives from between mounds of concrete and mangled metal.
Some cried as they sat atop the rubble of their homes. Others set up tents for the children among some olive trees.
Excavators moved debris while people, armed with only shovels and picks, helped.
The civil war in Syria had already left its mark on the residents and internally displaced persons (IDPs) who took shelter in northwest Syria, but the deadly earthquakes that hit the region have greatly worsened their reality.
Many of the people Al Jazeera spoke to were IDPs grappling with a new sense of loss.
“I have been an IDP for three years living in Jandaris. The earthquake hit us on Monday and we lost many people including my sister, my nephew and my brother-in-law. Right now we are retrieving whatever we can find from our belongings,” said Louai Fares al-Khalaf, 36, from Bsaqla district.
More than four million people live in Syria’s northwestern rebel-held enclave, where they have been subject to incessant air attacks and rampant poverty. They were hit hard by the February 6 quakes that also shook Turkey to its core.
Many in the area were living in crowded tent settlements or buildings already weakened by past bombings. The quake displaced many for a second or third time, forcing some to sleep in the open as temperatures dipped.
“I have set up a tent among the olive trees and 17 of us will live in it. The survivors are me, my brother and our two families,” al-Khalaf said.