BURAYQAH: Their belongings piled nearby, elderly displaced Syrians struggled against the wind as they fastened a white tarpaulin on the metal frame of their makeshift new home in the country’s south.
They are among thousands who have fled intensifying Syrian government shelling in recent days on rebel-held territory south of Damascus.
Fearing an imminent ground assault, they escaped carrying whatever they could from their battered homes.
Among the shelters erected on a barren piece of land in the village of Burayqah, Quneitra province, stands the one that houses Ali al-Homsi and his family.
They escaped deadly bombardment on their hometown of Kafr Shams, which lies in a wedge of territory between the provinces of Daraa, Quneitra, and Damascus.
The area has come to be known as the Triangle of Death, for the bloody battles fought there since Syria’s war erupted in 2011.
“I wasn’t planning on coming here, but the intense bombing in recent days forced us to leave — especially after it killed more than one of our loved ones,” said Homsi, 36.
“That’s what made us flee.”
He was squatting on the dry earth as his young sons took a break and lay in the sun nearby.
“We’re setting up this tent just so we can have shelter,” he told AFP. “But we don’t have the basic necessities for life — there’s no water here to drink or wash with.”
After neutralising rebel strongholds on the edge of the capital, President Bashar al-Assad is turning his attention to the south, the cradle of the seven-year uprising against him.
Rebels still control a majority of the southern provinces of Daraa and Sweida, and bombing has so far focused on a string of rebel towns and villages between the two.—AFP