The human face of Syria's suffering

Syria's civil war is defying all efforts to end it, with airstrikes at the weekend adding another 53 dead to a body count that's almost anyone's guess.

Homs - Syria's third largest city - was a key battleground in the uprising against Bashar al-Assad.

It was dubbed the "capital of the revolution", after residents embraced the call to overthrow the president in early 2011 and much of the city fell under the control of the opposition.

It's been two years since the rebel forces surrendered and were escorted from the Old City of Homs. More than 700 people were killed, as civilians bore the brunt of four years of fighting between rebel forces and pro Assad militia.

Arbir, 32, is one of half a million Homs residents left homeless. 

She hasn't seen her husband since the start of the uprising. Authorities told her he'd been killed, but she hangs on to the hope that he's only missing.

Her brother, who'd been drafted into the Syrian army, was executed in front of their house.

Arbir had wanted to stay in Homs, in case her husband returned, but after her daughter was shot in the hip with a stray bullet, they fled for their lives.

In four years, Arbir and her children have moved many times - they're now in a tent in northern Damascus. There's no electricity or running water, and without heating in winter, they huddle under blankets at night. 

The former nurse works a night shift, cleaning at a factory. It pays for food, but little else.

She knows they can't live there forever, but she has nowhere else to go.

Despite Arbir's suffering, she says she needs to be strong - if not for herself, then for her daughters.

The five million people who fled Syria and are now refugees in other countries have received considerable media attention. 

But within Syria itself, it's estimated more than six million have been displaced by the conflict. 

Nearly 70 percent of the entire population is currently living in acute poverty.



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