Time stands frozen for thousands of Syrian refugees running from war. They have fled Aleppo and are desperately trying to enter Turkey, which has shut its border, claiming it is unable to absorb any more refugees. Only ambulances and some special vehicles are allowed to make the Bab al-Salam crossing. The humanitarian crisis in Syria, which has been in the throes of war for nearly five years, has reached a peak. A Syrian government offensive in Aleppo has displaced tens of thousands of people, many of whom are now massing in camps at the Turkish border.
From time to time, the silence at the border is broken by the sounds of ambulances and explosions within Syria. A queue of aid trucks snakes towards the crossing, preparing to deliver items such as food, water and blankets. Thousands of other internally displaced Syrians have been seeking shelter in the border town of Azaz. “The situation in Azaz is miserable. People sleep on the ground. A 40-year-old man died during a cold snap on the streets. [Aid agencies are] sending more tents each day, but there are a lot of people,” activist Abu Mohamed told Al Jazeera. “This current situation demands urgent international intervention … The world has abandoned us.”