IDLIB, North Syria - Feeling cold, hungry and scared, Syrians are seeking refuge in burial undergrounds to escape the raging fighting between President Bashar Al-Assad's forces and opposition fighters.
"It's bad here," Mohammed, 13, told the BBC News.Surrounded by six of his brothers, sisters and cousins, the young boy was the eldest in the group.
His father had been killed in the fighting weeks ago.
He and his brothers and sisters were told by their mother to seek refuge in an old Roman burial chamber until she finds food for them.
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As they waited in the dark for their mother, the terrified boys were feeling cold, hungry and scared.
"We're all afraid, that's why we're staying here, Mohammed said.
We're afraid of the bombing and the shelling.
Many Syrian families are finding no other place but tombs and caves to flee the raging war between Assad's security forces and opposition fighters.
Life is so hard, but we have to deal about it, an elderly mother living in a cave said.
The world has forgotten about us. This isn't a home.
The United Nations estimates 70,000 people have been killed in more than 22 months of fighting between Assad's security forces and the opposition.
More than 900,000 Syrian refugees have fled the country to seek refugee abroad.
The UN has predicted the number of Syrian refugees in neighboring countries will double to 1.1 million by June if the civil war does not end by then.
The raging fighting is offering no safe atmosphere for Syrian children.
"If you stay here, you should expect that you could be killed at any time," said Abdul Rahman, a Syrian father.
Abdul Rahman's small town in Aleppo province gave a clear example on the deteriorating situation.
Falling under bombardment for weeks, the population of more than 100,000 has been reduced to just a hundred or so as people fled the fighting.
Entire homes have been grounded to dust while the outside walls of buildings have been ripped off, baring the battered remnants of the lives inside.
The roads are blackened with the hallmarks of war: the burnt carcasses of tanks, vicious shards of shrapnel and gaping holes where rockets have landed.
Every few minutes, the thunderous roar of more shells being launched breaches an uneasy silence in the town.
Hundreds of thousands of people have struggled across Syria's borders to escape this, but many more than that have been made homeless in their own land.Some families sleep in large plastic greenhouses on farms, tents have been erected in gardens, and homes that were built to house a single family now shelter dozens of people.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net