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PHOTOS: Kobane refugees dream of home in Turkey's refugee camps

Though hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled the city of Kobane over the past months, some of them insist on making the dangerous journey home to retrieve what was left behind.

Text and photos: Faiz Abu-Rmeleh / Activestills.org

Refugee warm up near a fire at the Arin Mirkhan refugee camp, Turkish-Syrian border, October 2014. Photo: Faiz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org

Refugees warm up near a fire at Arin Mirxam refugee camp, Turkey-Syria border, October 2014. Photo: Faiz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org

Hundreds of thousands of Kurdish and Syrian refugees have fled the city of Kobane in northern Syria over the past months due to attacks on the city by Islamic State forces. Approximately 40,000 residents have fled the city, around half of them crossing the border into the Turkish border town Suruc, where they currently live in refugee camps. Turkish authorities and citizens, along with Kurdish aid organizations, are trying to handle the growing pressure on the infrastructure. Supplies in the camps are in low supply, and many are living in close quarters.

A view on the tents at the Ravaya refugee camp, Turkish-Syrian border, October 2014. Photo: Faiz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org

A view of the tents at Ravaya refugee camp, Turkey-Syria border, October 2014. Photo: Faiz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org

Refugees from the Syrian city of Kobane look at fighting taking place at their city across the border, Turkish-Syrian border, October 2014. Photo: Faiz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org

Refugees from the Syrian city of Kobane look at fighting taking place at their city across the border, October 2014. Photo: Faiz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org

Many of the refugees are afraid to give their full name, since many still have relatives in Kobane. “We need help from the United Nations and the West,” said one refugee. The refugees claim that U.S. airstrikes have helped ward off the Islamic State, yet Kurdish forces are still in need of much more than ammunition to prevent the militants from taking over the city.

Refugee lining up to register at the Arin Mirkhan refugee camp, Turkish-Syrian border, October 2014. Photo: Faiz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org

Refugees line up to register at Arin Mirxan refugee camp, October 2014. Photo: Faiz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org

A view on the Ravaya refugee camp in the city of Suruc, Turkey, October 2014. Photo: Faiz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org

A view of Ravaya refugee camp in the city of Suruc, Turkey, October 2014. Photo: Faiz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org

Refugees return to the border area that overlooks the homes they left behind on a daily basis. Some of them are even able to cross the border and return to Kobane in order to retrieve the property and clothing they had left behind. Meanwhile, they look from afar, wondering when they will be able to return to their homes.

Children play at the Ravaya refugee camp, Turkish-Syrian border, October 2014. Photo: Faiz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org

Children play at Ravaya refugee camp, on the border between Turkey and Syria, October 2014. Photo: Faiz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org

Refugee warm up near a fire at the Arin Mirkhan refugee camp, Turkish-Syrian border, October 2014. Photo: Faiz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org

Refugees warm up near a fire at Arin Mirxan refugee camp, October 2014. Photo: Faiz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org

Children learn at a volunteer-run school at the Ravaya refugee camp in the city of Suruc, Turkey, October 2014. Photo: Faiz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org

Children study at a volunteer-run school at Ravaya refugee camp, Suruc, Turkey, October 2014. Photo: Faiz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org

A refugee who fled the Syrian city of Kobane sits in a structure used by refugees as a temporary shelter at the city of Suruc, Turkey, Turkish-Syrian border, October 2014. Photo: Faiz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org

A refugee who fled the Syrian city of Kobane sits in a makeshift shelter, Suruc, October 2014. Photo: Faiz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org

A woman cooking at the Ravaya refugee camp in the city of Suruc, Turkey, October 2014. Photo: Faiz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org

A woman cooks in Ravaya refugee camp, October 2014. Photo: Faiz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org

A family carrying water at Arin Mirkhan refugee camp, Turkish-Syrian border, October 2014. Photo: Faiz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org

A family carries water in Arin Mirxan refugee camp, October 2014. Photo: Faiz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org

A family warms up at Arin Mirkhan refugee camp, Turkish-Syrian border, October 2014. Photo: Faiz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org

A family cooks together in Arin Mirkhan refugee camp, October 2014. Photo: Faiz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org

A view at sun dawn at Arin Mirkhan refugee camp, Turkish-Syrian border, October 2014. Photo: Faiz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org

Arin Mirkhan refugee camp at dawn, October 2014. Photo: Faiz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org

Related:
The Kurds must not be abandoned again, this time to ISIS
Surviving winter after surviving ISIS: A testimony by a Yazidi refugee

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    1. Bruce Gould

      Information: “Khirbet Khizeh: A Novel”, by the Israeli author S. Yizhar, has been reissued:

      “It’s 1948 and the Arab villagers of Khirbet Khizeh are about to be violently expelled from their homes. A young Israeli soldier who is on duty that day finds himself battling on two fronts: with the villagers and, ultimately, with his own conscience.
      Published just months after the founding of the state of Israel and the end of the 1948 war, the novella Khirbet Khizeh was an immediate sensation when it first appeared. Since then, the book has continued to challenge and disturb, even finding its way onto the school curriculum in Israel. The various debates it has prompted would themselves make Khirbet Khizeh worth reading, but the novella is much more than a vital historical document: it is also a great work of art.”

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0374535566/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_1?pf_rd_p=1944579842&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=9659012594&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0CDYP7Z6YXNH9R28P9RT

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    2. If I knew how to help I would.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Bryan

      Hopefully the “hundreds of thousands of refugees” forced to flee their homes after being attacked by militant religious militias will not still be languishing in refugee camps in 66 years time, still waiting for the UN and the West to intervene and provide justice. “Never again!”

      Reply to Comment