For Syrian family with 16 children, life at Turkish border only gets harder

By Khalil Ashawi
IDLIB, Syria (Reuters) - The care of 16 children, including four pairs of twins, is for Ahmad Yassin al-Ali and his wife Fawza Umri, Syrians who were forced to flee their home almost a decade ago and who are now in a house are crowded, increasingly difficult tent on the Turkish border.
Ali, whose wife is eight months pregnant with more twins, says the little money he can scrape together to collect and sell plastic junk is buying less and less, reflecting the rising prices caused by the collapse of the Syrian currency were caused.
"Two of my children are helping me. I buy bread, potatoes and tomatoes on the days when I can sell," said Ali. "With the collapse of the Syrian currency, prices have risen so much that we no longer have the money to buy food and bread."
The opposition-held area where 35-year-old Ali and his family live in Idlib is outside President Bashar al-Assad's control, but the pound is still used there.
The US agency OCHA says that halving its value since the beginning of May has pushed the price of basic foodstuffs to record levels and beyond the reach of the 4 million people in the region.
Umri, 35, says Eid al-Fitr's recent holiday, which marks the end of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, was a time of despair rather than celebration. "I hated my life," she said.
One of her daughters has hearing problems and cannot speak, another is paralyzed on one side but cannot afford medical treatment.
"Food is a big problem for us. We can't buy vegetables and most days they eat bread and nothing else," she said.
The war killed hundreds of thousands, uprooted more than 6.6 million in Syria, and forced 5.5 million to flee to neighboring countries.

(Written by Dala Osseiran; editing by Tom Perry and Ed Osmond)

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