A boy stands in a concrete room holding a box of hot food and surrounded by men sitting on the floor

© ICRC/Sana Tarabish

Right now, families from Aleppo are fleeing for their lives. At least 40,000 to 50,000 people have left their homes because of fierce fighting in the past few days.

Around double that number have been forced to leave home since August. Most now live in difficult conditions as winter sets in.

Here are a few of their stories.

Four children stand in front o a derelict house in Aleppo

© ICRC/Sana Tarabish

Six-year-old Yousra is as old as Syria’s conflict.

Her family left their home to search for a safer place to live and ended up in a semi-derelict building, struggling to survive.

Yousra’s hands are in the pockets of her thin yellow jackets for warmth.

Although her teeth are chattering, she still smiles and plays with her friends among the bombed-out buildings of Aleppo.


© ICRC/Sana Tarabish

Most people leave eastern Aleppo on foot with only what they can carry.

The authorities then transport them to two collective shelters such as this former factory south east of Aleppo. It is now home to around 8,000 people.

Many arrive hungry, tired and with health problems or wounds after living under siege for months.

An elderly man leans on a walking stick surronded by people walking away

© ICRC/Sana Tarabish

“We saw buses arriving with people, more and more people,” said Marianne Gasser, from the International Committee of the Red Cross.

“Conditions are very difficult. People are in shock. They’re tired and cold, many of them are still covered in dust and need medical help. It’s heart-breaking.”

Men, including one in a wheelchair and one with crutches, sit around a fire

© ICRC/Sana Tarabish

“We are gathering here to have some warmth,” Abdo said.

“Firewood is the only source of fire and warmth but we cannot have fires inside.”

A Syrian Red Crescent volunteer serves hot soup to a boy as a man stands behind him

©Syrian Arab Red Crescent/Abdalsamea Homsi

The Red Cross and our partners the Syrian Arab Red Crescent are providing 6,500 hot meals daily, as well as blankets, drinking water, mattresses and medical care.

A young child with dirty clothes and bandage around her head sits outside a shelter with older standing around her

© ICRC/Sana Tarabish

Khadija was wounded by the conflict before crossing into a safer area.

She has just had her bandage changed at the Red Crescent mobile clinic and is happy to have a new one.

A woman sits in a wheelchair while other women and children sit near her on the ground

© ICRC/Sana Tarabish

“Don’t ask me how many children I have,” said Om Abdo.

“In the past, I had seven: four boys and three girls.

“I lost the oldest one two days ago during the fighting and am left with my seven grandsons alone. My son’s wife is dead.”

Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers stand in a line unloading supplies from a truck

© SARC/Abdalsamea Homsi

The British Red Cross has sent more winter supplies for 20,000 families.

The numbers are staggering: 40,435 mattresses, 75,000 blankets, 40,000 tarpaulins and 30,000 sleeping mats have just started to arrive in Syria. Another 80,000 food parcels will be sent in January.

But the situation is getting worse. Your support to our Syria Crisis Appeal can keep essential aid flowing.

A Red Cross worker kneels next to a family sitting on the ground as the father hold his baby in a blanket

© ICRC/Sana Tarabish

Mahmoud fled with his family, including a new baby, when he saw death everywhere.

“We had to save our lives. We fled quickly, we couldn’t take anything.

“We had nothing there – no food, no water, no electricity after sunset. The city was in blackout.

“We give her the name Hope (Amal) and we hope she will bring us that,” Mahmoud said.