Out in the open in freezing weather, Mustafa Hamadi and his family settled into their makeshift tent in the village of Killi, in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib – their second displacement in less than a year. The sub-zero temperatures on the night of February 11 kept them awake so, just before midnight, Mustafa moved the gas heater inside the tent.
By morning, Mustafa, his wife Amoun, their 12-year-old daughter Huda and their granddaughter Hoor, who was just three years old, were all found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning.
According to Nizar Hamadi, Mustafa’s brother who was texting with him that night, the tent – constructed of metal pipes and nylon sheets – had no proper ventilation and did little to insulate Mustafa’s family from the cold.
“It must have been minus nine degrees Celsius (15.8 Fahrenheit) that night,” Nizar told Al Jazeera. “My brother knew better than to bring a gas heater into an enclosed space with no air vents, but what choice did he have?”