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Inside Syria's earthquake zone, where life has gone from bad to horrendous

Syrian children orphaned by quake face uncertainty
Syrian children orphaned by earthquake face uncertainty 02:13

Harem, northwest Syria — When we crossed over the border from Turkey into Syria, we knew the situation was going to be bad. But the situation is horrendous. 

We found a housing project that had been home to more than 1,000 people. Rescue workers sifting through the rubble of the building told us 800 of the residents died when the monster earthquakes struck on February 6, just to the north, across the border in Turkey.

There's been precious little help for the quake victims on the Syrian side of the border since the disaster. Much of northern Syria is still held by rebels who've fought President Bashar Assad's troops in a brutal civil war for well over a decade. Only on Monday did Assad agree to open two more border crossings into the country from Turkey, to let aid flow in more quickly.

The United Nations confirmed Tuesday that the first of its aid convoys — 11 trucks backed with emergency humanitarian goods and personnel — had crossed into northwest Syria through the newly-opened Bab al-Salameh border post.

International community faces growing calls to help Syria after deadly earthquake 06:08

But it's still just a trickle of help for tens of thousands of people who need virtually everything. We saw residents digging through earthquake rubble with their bare hands, trying to recover whatever they could — and whoever they could.

A 5-year-old girl named Jinan nearly didn't make it. A video of her trapped under the rubble with her little brother Abdullah became a viral symbol of the tragedy in Idlib. She can be heard pleading with her rescuers, asking them to dig her out. 

The sister and brother made it out alive, but their parents and brothers and sisters all died. They're now being looked after by an aunt.

"My heart is burning," the aunt said of their situation. 

Another girl who was seriously injured hasn't yet learned her mother died in the earthquake. 

"She keeps saying I'm hiding something, the girl's aunt said. "But I don't have the heart to tell her she's dead."

Circumstances in northern Syria after the earthquakes are terrible, but it's been horrible here for years.

Thousands of those hit by the quake in the north of the country had already been displaced by the war. Their lives were incredibly bleak many felt forgotten by the world. Now, after the quakes, they say they feel they've been forgotten about all over again.

Syrians feel "forgotten yet again" following devastating earthquake 00:56
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