Families left in Kobane gasping for life under bullets and bombs
Faruk Balıkçı KOBANETwo days spent under bombing raids in the Syrian border town of Kobane, half of which has been destroyed after enduring hundreds of attacks, offer only a glimpse of the life that civilians who insist on staying in their hometown are living.
A total of 1,000 civilians are gasping for life in Kobane, a crucial battleground in the Kurds’ fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), while another 3,000 are living in similarly tough conditions two-kilometers away, beyond the wire fence that separates Turkey and Syria.
ISIL has increased its attacks in the area, near a number of border gates into Turkey, prompting the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the armed wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria, to defend the town with the support of U.S.-led airstrikes on the Islamists.
A woman named Semire Muhammed said the civilian population in the town had dropped considerably, but insisted they were not afraid of “either the tanks or the heavy weapons of ISIL.”
“We were born and lived here. I have never left here and we will not [leave]. We will die here if needed,” she said.
Muhammed also criticized those who say no civilians remain in Kobane after thousands of families fled the besieged town and crossed into Turkey. “Those who say no civilians are left in Kobane aren’t telling the truth. You see us, how can one say there are no civilians? We have children with us,” she said.
The city, which is grappling with water and power scarcity issues, has been fed with food brought from the Mürşitpınar border gate between Kobane and the southeastern Turkish province of Şanlıurfa.
Adle Ahmet, another civilian clinging to his life in the town, said they were cooking for the militants fighting against ISIL, and had locked themselves in their houses.
“Kobane is our land, our life. Who would want to leave their home? We will die here, if we must,” he said.
The silence in the town, which is now surrounded by bullet riddled and collapsed buildings, burnt cars and mortar shells, is only disrupted by gunshots and explosions.
A 14-year-old girl living in the town, Şilan, said she previously had not been able to sleep, frightened by the gunshots, but she has since “gotten used to it.”
“I miss my school, wandering the streets and my friends most,” she said. “I don’t know if I will ever see that kind of life again."