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Life in the Largest Syrian Refugee Ca...
Erbil
By Younes Mohammad
30 Mar 2015

March 30, 2015

Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan



Syrian refugees fled their country and arrived in Iraqi Kurdistan looking for assistance and a safe place to settle after the heavy clashes between the YPG and Al-Nusra front that took place in Rojava. The Kawrgosk refugee camp is currently the largest in Iraq but many of the refugees prefer to live on the outskirts of the city of Erbil. Iraq has recorded a total of 19, 844 Syrian refugees in the camps and aid is distributed to them by the UN, NGOs, and local and national bodies.

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Syrian Assyrians Flee ISIS to Qamishli
Al-Qamishli
By TTM Contributor 33
25 Feb 2015

Qamishli, Syria
February 26, 2015

Christian-Assyrian refugees seek refuge in the Kurdish controlled city of Qamishli after fleeing ISIS advances on their villages of Tal Tamer, Tal Harmoza, Tal al-Jazeera, Tal Kouran and Abu Tina in the Hasakeh province. ISIS militants recently kidnapped 220 Assyrians in Hasakeh province setting a dangerous precedent for christians in the area and spurring entire villages to abandon their homes and flee ISIS advances.

SHOTLIST AND SOUNDBITES

Wide/ external of the Syriac Cultural Association in Syria
Wide of men holding diaper packs destined for displaced families
Wide of diaper packs and other supplies
Wide of supplies in pickup trucks
SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Michael Kourieh, Member of the Syriac Cross
00:23 – 01:30
The Syriac Cross for Relief and Development. Our work currently revolves on to help our Assyrian brothers who fled the Khabour and Tal Tamer areas. They are living in several Assyrian churches. Our aim is to help the Assyrian so that they would feel at home. As you see from these supplies, we work all day long so they would not feel like strangers.
More importantly, from the information that we gathered, we learned that the displaced came from the Khabour area in the hundreds.
We feel sad about that, but we are trying our best to help them and offer them aid.
Various associations in Qamishli are involved in this work, such as the United Nations and Mother Syria Association. Everyone is making an effort [UNINTELLIGIBLE]. We are all coordinating our work and we hope that everyone is pleased with our work. God willing, we shall remain a unified people. “

Wide of Syriac Cross members unloading aid supplies
Wide/ external Syriac Cultural Association in Syria
Wide of aid supplies

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Woman) Elizabeth Jouqa, A displaced from Tal Tamer area

01:50 – 03:30

We fled the moment we first heard that ISIS kidnapped women, young men and children. We ran away before ISIS arrived to avoid being captured.
Interviewer: Did many people flee?
Many! There is about 600 [displaced] families here in Qamishli. May God safeguard you.
My relatives were abducted. We do not where they are. Amy God protect them from [ISIS]. May God break their arms.
Interviewer: When did the attack take place?
It was in the morning. We heard about in the morning. We called our relatives In Tal Shmeiran who told us that [ISIS] invaded their village. They said that [ISIS] had taken the men two days earlier to an unknown location and that they were like sheep to the church and did not know what was going to happen to them.
Our men, fighters from the Sotoro organisation and the Kurds, may God protect them, defended the people, but what could they do? The others [ISIS] are many. There were probably 600 of them.
Interviewer: who do you demand help from? The international community? The autonomous administration here? Regional countries?

What can I say?
Interviewer: Do you want aid form the United Nations? Who do you want aid from?

We are grateful for anyone who wants to help us. I do not know who should help us.
Wide of Syriac Cross members unloading aid supplies
Wide of street
Traveling of street

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Woman) Julia Butros, A displaced from Tal Tawil village
03:49 – 05:27
It was in at five in the evening. They [the rescuers] took children and their father. It was at five o’clock. People fled using a mobile diesel tank. They removed the tank from the vehicle and put people in its place and took to Hasaka, and from Hasaka they were brought here to Qamishli. People arrived here at midnight. The trip started at five and took all night long.
We do not anyone who was kidnapped. It is said that people were kidnapped in other villages. We cannot say anything other than that we have seen did not see.
Interviewer: Did ISIS blow churches?
They did in another village but not in Tal Tawil. They blew up churches in another village. . In other villages there people whose whereabouts are not known.
Interviewer: How many people fled to Hasaka and Qamishli?

I do not know. May be around 300 or 400 people. Around 100 people fled from our village, Tal Tawil.

Interviewer: who do you demand help from? The international community? The United Nations?
May God reward them, whether they offered aid or not. May God reward you and anyone who helps these troubled people.
Interviewer: Is ISIS present in your village?
[ISIS] is present in other villages. This man’s wife does know anything about her family. Interviewer: Did the Kurdish fighters and the Syriac Council liberate these villages?
They are trying to help, I am not saying that they are not, but what can they do?

Wide of Syriac Cross members unloading aid supplies
Various of Christian icons hung on a wall
Close-up of sign hung on an aid vehicle reads: “An initiative of love and solidarity towards from Tal Tamer and Khabour.”

Close-up of sign on aid vehicle “Syriac Cross Organization for Relief & Development”
Medium of sign on aid vehicle “Syriac Cross Organization for Relief & Development”

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Securing the Sanctuary: YPG Fighters ...
Afrin
By Shirwan Qasim
04 Nov 2014

November 4, 2014
Afrin, Syria

While the Syrian-Kurdish cantons of Kobane and Qamishle remain under ISIS pressure and siege, the third Kurdish canton of Afrin is preparing to face any threats that may come its way and continue to be a refuge for minorities and other civilians fleeing ISIS, al-Nusra Front, and the Syrian Government. Part of these preparations involve the establishment of training camps for fighters from the Kurdish People's Protection Units, also known as the YPG. The commando training camp on the outskirts of Afrin is run by a woman named Busayna, who honed her military skills in the Qandil mountains of Iraq and now teaches them to the fighters of Afrin. Together with their male counterparts, the women of the YPG are now playing an integral part in securing one of the last safe Kurdish refuges in Syria.

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Yazidi Refugees Find Shelter in Turkey
Midyat
By emrerende
05 Sep 2014

Up to to 16.000 Yazidi refugees have found shelter in Turkey after fleeing the Islamic state onslaught in and around Sinjar in mid-August, 2014. Many have been accommodated in camps set up by Turkey's governmental relief agency. Turkey says it will soon be ready to open three new refugee camps in northern Iraq for Yazidis and Turkmen fleeing violence in Iraq. The government says it has already spent more than 3.5 billion dollars looking after Syrian refugees and is asking the international community to shoulder some of the burden when it comes to refugees from Syria and Iraq.

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The Syrian Refugee Odyssey - Istanbul
Istanbul
By Mauro Prandelli
15 Apr 2014

What was once a welcoming and supportive reception for Syrian refugees in Turkey has turned to resentment and destitution. As the Syrian war has dragged on, Istanbul, Turkey's economic and touristic hun, has seen the population of destitute Syrians swell. As a result, the patience of the local population and aid from the government is wearing thin. While Istanbul has long been a hub for migrants traveling to and from Europe, Syrians have been trapped in Turkey, as it is almost impossible for them to obtain visas for onward travel to Europe, and many cannot return to Syria out of concern for their safety. Many now find themselves living in squalor with little hope or options for the future. 

One Syrian refugee described their situation in Turkey by saying:

"Life in Turkey is very hard, Syrians cannot work because they do not have the necessary permits and the only solution is to work illegally. There are children who work 15 hours per day to bring to their families a little money which is not even enough to buy bread. When the war is over I want to go back to Damascus, to my family, to my land."

FULL ARTICLE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

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Life In The Graves - La Vie Dans Les ...
Shanshrah, Idlib province, Syria
By Marie
13 Apr 2013

Entry of a graveyard occupied by a refugee family on the Shansharah archeological site, Idlib region. It has been one year since hundreds of displaced people have taken shelter in the ruins of these famous « dead cities » in the North-West. Far away from the surrounding cities, they are less exposed to the Syrian army air strikes. The young Ahmad is complaining about the very hard living conditions of his daily life. There is no running water and electricity. « When it is raining we have to go out of the graveyard because it is full of water ».

Entrée d'un tombeau occupé par une famille réfugiée sur le site archéologique de Shansharah dans la région d'Idleb. Depuis un an des centaines de déplacés trouvent refuge dans les ruines des célèbres « villes mortes » du nord-ouest du pays. Eloignées des villes alentours, elles sont moins ciblées par les attaques aériennes de l'armée syrienne. Le petit Ahmad se plaint des conditions de vie déplorables dans lesquelles ils vivent. Ils ne disposent ni d'eau courante, ni d’électricité.
« Quand il pleut trop, nous sommes obligés de sortir car le tombeau se remplit d'eau ».

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RUNNING FROM REPRESSION - Editor's Pi...
Tibet
By Editor's Picks
24 Jan 2013

Every year, hundreds of Tibetans make their way to the Tibetan Refugee Reception Centre in Kathmandu, Nepal, seeking to escape religious and cultural repression by the Chinese government.

Crossing the border to reach Nepal can be a very costly endeavor – with guides being paid between 12 000 CNY (€1400) and 50 000 CNY (€8500) per person – if it is to be secure. But with the help of their family members, many Tibetans are at least able to attempt it.

But the challenge is not only found in meeting these expenses – it is also found in reconciling with leaving family members behind and the uncertainty of the future; oftentimes, it is also found in crossing the physical barriers which divide these two nations; yet, for others, the journey simply consists of a single bus or plane ride.

Whatever the reality of the journey is for these Tibetans who have fled their homes – be it dramatic or uneventful - they are all tales of refuge.

(Where indicated (*), names have been changed to protect the subject’s identity and that of any friends and family still living in Tibet).