1,000 refugees return to Syria despite ISIL danger
ŞANLIURFA – Anadolu Agency
More than 1,000 Kurdish refugees crossed the Mürşitpınar gate back to the neighboring Kobane on Sept. 24, according to one eyewitness. AA PhotoThousands of mainly Kurdish refugees who found shelter from the jihadists of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in southeastern Turkey are returning home via the border crossing at Suruç, despite the danger posed by ISIL.
Although many refugees are still crossing into Turkey, some are returning home, even as the sound of gunfire from Syria could be clearly heard Sept. 25 morning.
Some 140,000 people have fled possible ISIL atrocities following its offensive against the predominately Kurdish town; Turkey opened its frontier to the refugees Sept. 19.
Kurdish fighters from the People’s Protection Units (YPG) have been defending the town against the ISIL advance near the Turkish border for more than a week. Some reports claim the insurgent attacks are as close as 10 kilometers from central Kobane.
More than 1,000 Kurdish refugees crossed the Mürşitpınar gate back to the neighboring Kobane on Sept. 24, according to one eyewitness.
One such refugee, a woman in her fifties called Halise, told Anadolu Agency the night of Sept. 24 that they were miserable even though their relatives in Turkey were trying to shelter them.
“Even though there is life-threatening danger there, we want to go back,” she said, while waiting in front of the border gate with eight other of her family members.
“We are sick of living here,” she added.
Their appeal was turned down by the Turkish army, which blocked the crossing for the rest of the day until Sept. 25 morning.
Speaking by the border crossing yesterday was mother-of-eight Selma Shekhmuz. “We were staying in the same place with nine other families,” she said.
“We don’t have enough money to survive. Life is expensive here. We took shelter in Kobane two years ago after leaving Damascus. We are scared, but we do not have any other option. I have been here for the last six days.”
Mahmoud Osman Ali, 77, said: “We came here in mass panic. They told me ISIL has not reached Kobane. I am going back alone after having sent my daughter and her seven children to Gaziantep [in Turkey]. I stayed here with my relatives.”
Although many of those fleeing the Syrian conflict are members of extended Kurdish families, which straddle the border, many others have been forced into living in harsh conditions as they fill mosques, parks and storehouses in the Turkish town.
In the meantime, thousands of Syrian refugees continue to pass through the barbed wire fences under security controls during the day.