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Syrian refugees lack protection in winter, doctor says

The six million Syrian refugees who are displaced by the deadly civil war are ill-equipped for the winter, but conditions in the refugee camps are unlikely to improve any time soon, says a Syrian-Canadian doctor.

Syrian-Canadian doctor witnessed refugees living in tents, orphans walking in thin clothes

The six million Syrian refugees who are displaced by the deadly civil war are ill-equipped for the winter, but conditions in the refugee camps are unlikely to improve any time soon, says a Syrian-Canadian doctor. (Nariman El-Mofty/Associated Press)

The six million Syrian refugees who are displaced by the deadly civil war are ill-equipped for the winter, but conditions in the refugee camps are unlikely to improve any time soon, says a Syrian-Canadian doctor.

Last week, a powerful Mediterranean storm dumped snow in countries like Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan, and pushed temperature to below zero. Wind chills and the humidity make it feel even colder.

Dr. Jay Dahman, president of the Canadian International Medical Relief Organization, has travelled to Syria and Turkey a handful of times. He described the conditions as "appalling," after witnessing refugees in tents and orphaned kids in thin clothes.

"They are walking with one-layered clothes. It's pretty cold out there, and nobody is there to help them," he said in an interview with CBC Radio's Metro Morning.

In addition, the refugees are malnourished, leaving them more vulnerable in the cold, Dahman said.

Dahman called for more medical supplies and other humanitarian aid. Military interventions may be necessary too, he added.

"Now the jihadists are making our work as humanitarian physicians very hard," he said.

Without interventions, Dahman said he is not optimistic about improvements.

"It's going to take a long time to end, and there's going to be a lot of lives lost and a lot of people displaced because of that."

Listen to Dahman on Metro Morning talking about what he witnessed during his trips to the region.

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