Syrian woman gives birth to quintuplets weeks after fleeing Iraq

News Stories, 20 August 2014

© UNHCRPhoto
The five newborn babies take a nap in a Qamishli hospital in north-east Syria.

QAMISHLI, Syria, August 20 (UNHCR) A 27-year-old Syrian woman has given birth to quintuplets in northern Syria weeks after fleeing her home in neighbouring Iraq on foot.

Tamam, an ethnic Yazidi, gave birth by Caesarean section last Thursday at a hospital in the city of Qamishli. "She gave birth in the seventh month of her pregnancy, but thank God the mother and babies are all in good health," a doctor at the private hospital told UNHCR. The five babies have not yet had their births registered.

The woman, a Syrian national, is among tens of thousands of people who have fled violence in northern Iraq since June, including many who have sought shelter in Syria. They include tens of thousands of Yazidis from Iraq's Sinjar area.

Tamam moved to the city of Mosul last year after marrying an Iraqi man. They escaped after armed militants captured the city, Iraq's second largest, last June. "We had to walk for two days before we reached the [Syrian] border," she said, adding that she and her husband were with seven other Yazidi families and only had a bottle of water to share.

She is currently staying at her parents' house near Qamishli and worries about how to take care of her newborn babies and meet their needs. "We will not be able to provide nappies and milk for five children because of our poor financial situation," she revealed. Tamam's husband is jobless and none of her siblings work. UNHCR has provided her with nappies, sanitary napkins and a cash grant.

UNHCR is coordinating the UN response in Syria to the Yazidi refugee crisis. Since August 8, UNHCR and other UN and humanitarian agencies have been delivering life-saving supplies to everyone within reach.