ATMEH, Syria (December 11, 2012)--A tent camp sheltering Syrians uprooted by their country's brutal civil war has lost the race against winter.
The ground under white tents is soaked in mud, fights erupt over scarce blankets and volunteer doctors routinely run out of medicine for coughing, runny-nosed children.
According to new estimates, the 21-month-old battle to bring down President Bashar Assad has already forced some 3 million Syrians from their homes, and the cold, wet winter weather is making life increasingly unbearable for the displaced.
Many of the roughly 12,000 people seeking refuge in the tent camp near the Syrian village of Atmeh on the Turkish border fled with just the clothes on their backs to escape intensifying bombing raids by the Syrian air force in recent months.
Houston air-conditioning businessman Yakzan Shishakly returned to his native Syria last year to help victims of the civil war and now manages the camp.
"The situation is really bad, winter is already here,” he said.