“I have witnessed a lot of suffering in Idlib during this long conflict, but the last few months have been the worst yet. People have fled the military bombardment in massive numbers – sometimes tens of thousands in a day.
"The streets have been filled with people on the move, while the roads are jammed with cars that are loaded with families’ entire worlds," she says.
‘Imagine giving birth, then fleeing’
"Recently, I was by the side of the road providing assistance to families who were escaping the fighting," Ahlam says.
"A family came by on an old 3-wheel motorbike – a heavily pregnant woman sitting by her husband’s side carrying a toddler, and three small children on the other side.
"They had just a few plastic bags of firewood and clothes with them, and the children looked terrified and exhausted.
"The husband told me that his wife had gone into labour as they fled under the bombardment, and was having contractions. They didn’t know where they were going.
"We helped find them a place in a shared room with another family, and the mother gave birth there – three days later they had to move again, and the area they moved to was heavily bombed so they fled once again."
Imagine, that mother, just having given birth with no clothes or blankets or food, fleeing from place to place with her children in the winter cold – this is life for Syrians today." - Ahlam, World Vision aid worker
In pursuit of justice for children
“Since I was young I felt a strong sense of purpose, justice and defiance. I worked as an Arabic teacher and gained a diploma in education after college. In response to the war we’re living through and its impact on the most vulnerable, particularly children and women, I am guided by the same defiance and pursuit of justice.
"This war has created millions of victims, though some suffer more than others. It saddens me deeply that many of the children I meet know no other reality than this conflict and fear. An entire generation has been damaged and I do not know if this can be repaired.
"So many children have lost the chance of an education. My son goes to high school when it’s open, but wants to quit because he’s depressed about the future – we never know when we will be forced to flee or even killed.
"Children have no toys, no education, not even a peaceful or a healthy life - I see hope in their eyes, but it’s futile while the war is ongoing.
"A little girl came up to me and told me she wishes their tent had an actual roof rather than a plastic cover. Nowadays, it saddens me to say this, but a Syrian child’s dream is to seek refuge under a tent – it’s the truth."