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Photos: Town in Idlib province transformed by war

In the opposition-held town of Sarmada near the border with Turkey, thousands of displaced Syrians go about their daily lives with little hope of returning to their homes any time soon.

Row upon row of tents, brick homes and other structures with water tanks on top dot the town, making up a series of huge informal camps for displaced people. Women cook and children play. Men go to work, pray and discuss politics.

They are displaced from various bouts of violence in Syria’s 10-year conflict. Idlib province in the northwestern corner of the country is the last area in Syria held by Turkey-backed opposition fighters.

Some of the camps in Sarmada, north of Idlib city, are run or supported by the Turkish Red Crescent, which donates food and other items like blankets and toys.

The town’s population has increased dramatically over the years, due to waves of displacement from around the country. It is considered relatively safe due to its proximity to the Bab al-Hawa crossing with Turkey, and its distance from the fighting fronts. The town has emerged as a commercial hub linking opposition-held Syria’s economy to Turkish markets.

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