IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation
Ghost Town: Taftanaz
The press coordinator of the IHH, Serkan Nergis, reported from Taftenaz also known as “Ghost Town” in Syria where life goes on in spite of the continuous shelling over the past 3 years.
Syria 20.02.2014

Towns and cities where the population dramatically drops as a result of war or natural catastrophes are generally called “Ghost City” or “Ghost Town”. There are dozens of cities who match this description in Syria. One of these is the town of Taftanaz in Idlib.

Taftanaz fits the bill as “Ghost Town”. The local population which was 30.000 before the war is only a few thousand today. The number even dropped to 500 for a while. Majority of the town’s people are in the refugee camps lining up along the border of Turkey. The number of people killed during the shelling is very high so much so that even the townspeople do not know the actual number of casualties. Only those, who had nowhere to go or resolved not to leave their homes no matter what, returned to their town. 


80% of the town is shelled by Assad’s forces. Houses, buildings, schools, mosques even the town graveyard is shelled.

What makes Taftanaz significant is that there is an airport a few kilometres off the town. During the clashes in the airport Assad’s forces shelled the town indiscriminately. Although the opposition seized the airport long ago Assad’s forces has kept shelling the town. Civilians are hit by the bombs almost daily.

In the streets which were cheerful only 3 years ago are now deserted and you scarcely see a person or two. Children leave their homes only to go to the market or school. Just when they do not see drones or helicopters they play games in front of their gates or in the ruins while women do not dare to walk a few streets away. 

The locals of Taftanaz whose houses are hit and have nowhere to go but still do not want to leave their hometown remain in the ruins or in the courtyard of their destroyed houses. Despite everything, locals do not want to leave their land. Only a few shops are open in Teftanaz and even those fail to provide basic supplies. Risking their lives, the townspeople get supplies from another town kilometres away. But the safety risk is alarmingly huge due to continuous shelling.

IHH did not leave Taftenaz people alone. Regardless of the shelling, IHH teams continue to deliver regular aid of food, blankets and clothes to the locals of Teftenaz.

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