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

Refugees warm up near a fire at Arin Mirxam refugee camp, Turkey-Syria 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 of the tents at Ravaya refugee camp, Turkey-Syria 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, 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.

Refugees line up to register at Arin Mirxan refugee camp, 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 of 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 Ravaya refugee camp, on the border between Turkey and Syria, 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
Refugees warm up near a fire at Arin Mirxan refugee camp, 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 study at a volunteer-run school at Ravaya refugee camp, 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 makeshift shelter, Suruc, 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 cooks in Ravaya refugee camp, 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 carries water in Arin Mirxan refugee camp, 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 cooks together in Arin Mirkhan refugee camp, 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
Arin Mirkhan refugee camp at dawn, 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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