IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation
  • Who are we
  • What we do
  • What can you do
  • Login
In war everything is a lie except death
Osman Sağırlı Refugee 07.03.2016


As I walk around the rubble while the gunfire is heard in the background in Aleppo which is now a ghost city I am reminded of sequences from the film “Pianist.” That awardwinning movie produced in 2002. If director Roman Polanski was to shoot it today he would definitely choose Aleppo as the shooting location and cut the production costs as he wouldn’t need to create the setting. Because the scenes would have a more authentic feel. It breaks my heart to see Aleppo which I have been to many times before the war in this condition. Those beautiful markets, smiling people are gone. They erased Aleppo from the face of Aleppo. The city that once smelled of history now smells gunpowder and blood. Other cities are not spared either. Alas!

You can see many plots in play here: those who operate as the local representatives of international terrorist organizations, those who create chaos by their own brand of terrorism, arms dealers competing to get rid of their stocks, those who experiment new war techniques. In this land where poverty, hunger and diseases have become nothing out of ordinary everyone has a plot except Syrians. So they suffer the brunt of it. Barefoot children who try to survive in 3-5 square-metre tents where they took shelter represent the bare truth of Syria.

Refugee camps are full of wailing babies who grow up with gunshots instead of lullabies and they are flocked along the Turkish border. The picture is pretty much the same in all of them. Agitated faces, and eyes staring vacantly at the sky… After 5-year war there are hundreds of thousands of people who left their parents, brothers, homes and hopes behind…


In the fertile terra rosa lands in northern Syria there used to be olive trees, wheat fields and fruit orchards that stretched as far as the eye can see. Today they are replaced by refugee tents of internally displaced people who fled the shelling over their homes.

Particularly after the attacks on Aleppo there is a dramatic rise in the number of people in the refugee camps along the Turkish border. Refugees who are not able to find space in the camps where 105.000 people live settle in olive orchards, empty fields, mosques and schools while some families live off the trunk of their trucks. With the recent wave of refugees a tiny town Azez’s population reached 300.000. Turkey is caring for 3 million people who made it to the Turkish territory while trying to reach out those here as well. IHH set up container and tent cities for refugees who try to survive with relief aid from Turkey. Thousands of tents are set up for the new comers as well. Syrians’ daily food, cleaning and clothing needs are also provided for in these facilities.

If you look at the statistics about Syria where death has become ordinary and streets smell of blood you realize that the conscience is dead. Death toll is 361.000 people including 235.000 civilians. 198 people died daily in this war which entered its sixth year. If there was an explosion that killed 198 people somewhere in the world the international community would be on alarm. The prime ministers would send in their condolences or pay visit and those who don’t would be shunned. What about Syrians? What sin did they commit?


4.815.868 Syrian refugees sought asylum in other countries including Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt. Those who made it to Europe is 1.015.078. The number of refugees who left the country since the beginning of war is 5.830.946. In terms of population Syrian refugees could make up 112th biggest country in the world. Overall there are 12 million internally displaced people in Syria. This figure equals to the total of populations of the following countries Ireland, Lithuania, Latonia, Malta, Luxemburg, Estonia and Cyprus. In other words just imagine Portugal and Sweden migrate to somewhere else.