Officials in the last rebel outpost in Syria have told Sky News an estimated 700,000 people have been forced out of their homes due to a recent surge in violence in Idlib province.
We gained exclusive access to the last rebel outpost of Idlib and saw people sheltering in olive groves after fleeing from the renewed fighting. Three women were recovering after giving birth there.
Sky News witnessed at first hand the breaching of the ceasefire agreement brokered by Russia and Turkey – and spoke to terrified and angry people who are now threatening to force their way out of Syria, to head to Turkey and Europe in an attempt to find a safe haven.
The huge numbers of displaced people inside Syria have prompted fresh concerns about another mass migration unless the fighting is stopped.
We saw hundreds of people camped under olive trees in the baking sun during the day, who had to endure plummeting temperatures at night with sparse cover.
Some, like Eman Al Amotair, had only cardboard laid over the branches for cover.
She fled fighting in her town outside the city of Hama and went into labour en route.
Her friend told us she was screaming in pain and was desperately trying not to deliver her baby in the packed truck she and her neighbours were escaping in.
She gave birth to her baby girl within hours of arriving at the olive grove, where she has been since.
The baby daughter has spent her first fifteen days of life in unimaginable hardship. All but one of the youngster’s six siblings have been born during Syria’s brutal civil war. They are the country’s war babies.
“When my children hear any sound, they’re frightened,” she told Sky News. “What have they done wrong? Why should they suffer?”
Idlib province is now the most densely populated region of Syria – packed with civilians who’ve fled the fighting elsewhere, from places like Aleppo, and who now have nowhere else to run to.
The province’s population has swelled from 1.5 million before the conflict to nearly four million now.
For pregnant women, like Manal Kutesh, giving birth in the olive orchards is a terrifying prospect.
She already has two children and both were born after medical and surgical intervention.
“What help will I get here?” she said, gesturing around at her surroundings.
“Everything is so difficult here. There’s no water, there’s no electricity, there are no toilets, no bathrooms.”
Sky News found a young woman called Heba lying under another tree, still feeling weak after delivering her baby in the olive grove twelve days ago.
The baby is her third daughter and she said with could not countenance a Syria under complete control of the Syrian leader, Bashar Al Assad.
“We cannot live under Assad… he’s killed so many of us,” she told us. “We need to go to Turkey or Europe. If the Turkish won’t open the border, we will break it down.”
It was a sentiment echoed by many we spoke to.
Officials are warning of another humanitarian disaster if the fighting continues. Khaled Solaibi, from the rebel Salvation Government said: “If the bombing and shelling continues, the situation will be catastrophic… we cannot absorb this huge number of people.”
Idlib city has been packed with people all preparing for the Islamic feast of Iftar.
In control in the city is the rebel group HTS – deemed a terrorist outfit by the regime who want to crush it and regain control of Idlib.
Everyone we spoke to told us they believed this was just an excuse by the regime to kill them – civilians who oppose the rule of Assad.
One man said, pointing at his young children: “They say that we’re terrorists…are these terrorists?”
Another added: “The regime is not fighting jihadists… they’re attacking us: civilians… children and women… they’ve bombed hospitals, mosques and even wells for water where people gather.”
And an older woman, who saw her husband and three sons killed by the regime, added: “If they come here, they will kill us. Bashar Al Assad is a criminal. He will kill the people.”
From a hillside near the city, Sky News saw hours of airstrikes and fighting, which comes in the wake of the breakdown of last year’s ceasefire between the regime and rebel fighters which was brokered by Russia and Turkey.
Neighbouring Turkey has been watching this with mounting concern as more and more people have gathered on its border, amid growing demands to let them in – or through.
The Turkish are already catering for nearly four million Syrian refugees inside its borders, more than any other country in the world.
The country has spent the equivalent of $ 30bn since 2011 on looking after the refugees who’ve fled the battles.
Whole towns have built up as people have sought a safe haven in Turkey.
Many of the refugee children are now being schooled in Turkish schools. Turkey has more reason than most to fear another surge in refugees crossing the border.
Despite having differences over Syria, Turkey believes its continuing dialogue with Russia remains the best chance of defusing the recent upsurge in violence, and preventing the humanitarian disaster spilling over the border into southern Turkey.
Ankara accuses the Syrian government of undermining those efforts to find a solution, with Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu saying: “This aggressive attitude of the Assad regime needs to change. The attacks must stop.”
President Erdogan’s spokesman Fahrettin Altun went further, saying Bashar al-Assad was “aiming to sabotage Turkish-Russian cooperation in Idlib”, and undermine the agreement which had seen a de-escalation zone being established in the province.
In the olive grove in Idlib on the Syrian side, one man vented his frustration.
“We can’t stay here waiting for crumbs of food without a job, without doing anything… we will break the border wall down and cross to Turkey or Europe,” he said.
Another said: “The regime says we’re terrorists but we’re only civilians. You’ve seen all the women and babies here. They target them. We cannot accept the regime.”
That view is unlikely to change if the fighting doesn’t stop – and it’s the most vulnerable who will suffer.