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Baby Brings Hope to a Syrian Refugee Family in Short Supply

The birth of Baby Ibrahim raises the spirits of a Syrian refugee family struggling to survive.
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REYHANLI, Turkey -- Ibrahim is just 4 months old. His mother can’t afford milk so she gently feeds him small morsels of stale bread dipped in tea. His face is blotched with mosquito bites.

Breakfast for the family in their makeshift home near the Syrian border of is made from one chopped onion and a few slices of eggplant fried in oil. They are facing a second winter away from their homeland in Syria. A neighbor has lent them a wood stove to help keep the baby warm as the temperature drops.

"I wish I could look after him in Syria," Ibrahim’s mother, Um Mohammed, said. "It’s too cold here, but Syria is way too dangerous."

Image: Baby Ibrahim was born in June.  Reyhanli, Turkey
Baby Ibrahim was born in June in Reyhanli, Turkey.Yuka Tachibana

Despite the hardship, the birth of a new baby has brought hope for a family with little to hope for. We first met Um Mohammed when she was seven months pregnant. She was worried about the birth and whether her husband, a fighter with a Syrian rebel group, would be there.

"The birth was hard, but the moment I saw him I forgot the pain," she said. "I want him to grow up and make up for all the missing children and those who lost their lives. So many children died."

Her husband, Abu Mohammed, made it back for the birth of his son, but shortly after he returned to Syria to fight with the rebels. Two weeks ago, he returned to Turkey to stay with his wife and children.

The family fled Syria two years ago after their home near Hama was demolished by a bomb. Now they are coming to terms with the reality that the war may not end soon.

"If we go back now there will be helicopters and war planes flying above us in Syria. If we are at home we will be bombarded by artillery attacks and a lot of people are getting hit," Um Mohammed said.

"I’m afraid that Ibrahim will not be able to see his grandparents," but she adds, "I’m afraid for him so I can’t take him to Syria now. I hope Ibrahim will be able to return to his country, grow up in his country and learn in his country among Syrian children."

But for now they must brave another cold winter in Turkey and try to keep the newest member of their family warm.