Nightly News   |  December 18, 2013

Starving and scared, Syria’s displaced families seek shelter

As the civil war continues in Syria, almost one-third of the population has been driven from their homes. Many have found their way to Damascus. NBC’s Keir Simmons reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> continue to cover syria . the civil war between the assad regime and the rebels. now over a thousand days long it's meant almost 9 million people, almost a third of syria 's population, have been driven from their homes because of the fighting. many fled the country. that leaves millions more inside syria . they are increasingly desperate. many have found their way to damascus. nbc's keir simmons is there for us tonight.

>> reporter: children wait for food to bring their families. 7-year-old ab with -- abir has 11 brothers and sisters , all hungry. this father fled from aleppo. the war is here, too. an explosion. even as the. families register for help, gunfire. this 4-year-old helps his family carry away basic provisions. 4-month-old amina's father said they fled when their town was shelled. people search a list to see if they are eligible for help. every name is a hungry family. look how many there are. this war with started almost three years ago as a popular uprising against president assad. it's turned syria into a secular slaughterhouse. even more deadly as outsiders come in to fight and terrified syrians flee their homes. many are now starving. the world food program is feeding millions.

>> we have to have some kind of solution politically in syria . the humanitarian crisis is getting to a point i have never seen in any other country i have worked in.

>> reporter: this soccer coach tries to distract children from the misery around them. but it's not easy. [ speaking in a foreign language ]

>> reporter: an explosion, just as we are talking. he says mortars have landed here before. this is it. this is where it landed. near the soccer field , those children waiting for food are given noodle soup . abir struggles to carry the heavy pot back to her hungry family. no time for a normal childhood here. keir simmons , nbc news, damascus.