“More than 900 families have arrived in the last four days”
The families arrived in Latakia in small groups, coming from the Kassab and al-Samra villages [located in the hills around Latakia], starting Saturday morning. I was present for the first wave of arrivals, which consisted of roughly 500 people, primarily women and children. Over the last four days, more than 900 families have arrived, but I don’t know the exact number of displaced people because many went directly to stay with family or friends in town.
The displaced people arrived by car or by bus. Many got here thanks to the help of residents from other villages that were spared by the fighting. Locals went out to the Cheikh Hassan road [between Kassab and Latakia] in order to help those who did not have any means of transportation.
On their end, the regular army and the national defence units [pro-government militias] sought to protect the convoys, but they were targeted by sniper fire during most of the journey. Luckily, nobody was hit.Volunteers and members of local organisations lent a hand to the Syrian Red Crescent, which did the brunt of the work, as well as clergymen from the Orthodox and Armenian churches in Latakia. These are “emergency” measures, which are only meant to last a couple of days.