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Waiting Out the Siege: Kobane Refugee...
Seher Sokak No:34, 63800 Suruç/Şanlıurfa,Turkey
By Antoine E. R. Delaunay
02 Feb 2015

A photo reportage, realized at the end of November 2014, illustrating the challenging situation faced in the Kurdish city of Suruç and its region overwhelmed by Syrian refugees. Heavy fighting between Kurdish forces and Daesh have been raging inside the city of Kobane, located only a few kilometers away on the other side of the Turkish-Syrian border, for more than three months at that time.

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"Je Suis Charlie" Signs in Aleppo
Aleppo
By AmmarParis
13 Jan 2015

Despite danger of being caught by islamist militants, anonymous activists display "Je Suis Charlie" signs inside Aleppo

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Syrian Refugee Nurse Gives Help to Ya...
Mount Sinjar
By rsoufi
23 Dec 2014

December 21 2014
Sinjar Mountain

Khansaa Shamdeen Ali is a is a young Syrian Kurdish surgical nurse who became a refugee in Iraqi Kurdistan. Hearing of the desperate plight of Iraqi Yazidis trapped on Mount Sinjar under siege by Islamic State forces she volunteered to provide medical help to the Yazidis. Khansaa was transported to the mountain by military helicopter where she remained for three months tending to the medical needs of the hundreds of people unable to leave the area and Peshmerga fighters who were defending the mountain..
During this time she built a strong bond with the Yazidis and the Peshmergas. Khansaa says she does not want anything in return for work and she is just happy to have been able to help.

Khnassa assures that she does not want anything in return of her favors and she is just happy to serve the refugees.

Transcription:
(03:31)

Interviewer: All the medications are available with you?

Khansaa: yes of course, Dr. Nizar is doing the best he can to provide all the medications.

My name is Khansaa Shamdeen Ali, from Syrian Kurdistan, Derek area in Al-Hasakeh province. I have been here for three months, I treat the Yazidis and the Peshmerga fighters. Sometimes i get 400 patients per day, I have a very good relationship with them, and with the Yazidis.

I am also a refugee, my family is residing in Dar Shokran. When i heard about the situation, i immediately came to the health directory of Dohuk and spoke with Dr. Nizar, and I asked him to allow me to help the Yazidi refugees, so he said that they support me and they are willing to help me with whatever I need, I told them that I want nothing but to help people. Dr. Nizar helped me with everything, I stayed in Khaneqi for a month and after that i came here to the mountain, i have been in the mountain for three months now. I volunteered here to serve my country and help the Kurds. We receive all types of medications, even the medication required for surgical procedures.

Yesterday we received 12-13 people who were injured on the front and we treated them.

Interviewer: Do you do surgeries here?

Khansaa: yes we do, then we transfer them to Dohuk.

Yes Of course i have a degree, without my degree i cannot serve them. I have a degree from the health institution, Surgery section.

Once there was a strong conflict between ISIS and the Peshmerga fighters, and ISIS came close to the mountain, and there were many injuries, some of them were abdominal and shoulder injuries, i treated them and they stayed here with me for four days then were transferred to Dohuk and now they are fine.

This is the weapon of Fadel al-Mirani, He gave it to me as a present because I served the Yazidis. They said that they are very proud of me to be here in this situation, in the cold and the starvation and in a place where there i no bathrooms or toilets. I count myself as one of the Peshmerga, so he gave me this present because i served the Yazidis.

Some of the births that happened here, they gave two of the girls my name, and i personally named two boys, and i gave three girls my sister's name and two girls, I gave them my niece's name.

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Aftermath of Raqqa Bombings by Syrian...
By TTM Contributor 20
01 Dec 2014

27 November 2014 Destruction from recent airstrikes in Raqqa by Syrian Regime warplanes.

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Syrian Refugees in Turkey 02
suruc
By Ulrik Pedersen
26 Sep 2014

The main public park in Suruc, where many refugees are staying. The park is full of activity with some people leaving and some coming in. The residents are mostly women and children. Suruc, Turkey.

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Syrian Refugees in Turkey 01
mursitpinar
By Ulrik Pedersen
26 Sep 2014

A child sleeping in a small refugee camp close to the border. Mursitpinar, Turkey.

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Syrian Refugees in Turkey 16
mursitpinar
By Ulrik Pedersen
26 Sep 2014

A woman looking after small baby in refugee tent next to the border of Syria. Mursitpinar, Turkey.

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Syrian Refugees in Turkey 17
mursitpinar
By Ulrik Pedersen
26 Sep 2014

A girl looking through one of the windows of a small refugee tent, in a camp close to the border of Syria. Mursitpinar, Turkey.

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Syrian Refugees in Turkey 18
kobane
By Ulrik Pedersen
26 Sep 2014

A Kurdish woman crossing the destroyed border fence between turkey and Syria. The fence was destroyed by Syrian Kurds on the Turkish side, who were trying to help those on the Syrian side escape. Kobane, Syria.

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Syrian Refugees in Turkey 19
suruc
By Ulrik Pedersen
26 Sep 2014

Refugees and locals meet every day at the main square, where aid organizations hand out food. Suruc, Turkey.

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Syrian Refugees in Turkey 20
kobane
By Ulrik Pedersen
26 Sep 2014

A Syrian female fighter with her child and an AK-47 assault rifle. Across Iraq and Syrian, especially Syrian-Kurdish females are fighting ISIS. Kobane, Syria.

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Syrian Refugees in Turkey 21
kobane
By Ulrik Pedersen
26 Sep 2014

People cross the destroyed border fence to assist Syrian Kurds in defending the city of Kobane. Kobane, Syria.

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Syrian Refugees in Turkey 22
kobane
By Ulrik Pedersen
26 Sep 2014

View of Syria from Turkey. Syrians are not allowed to take cars, trucks and animals across the border, so they try to stay safe by being close to the border. ISIS are less than 1 km from the border. Kobane Valley, Syria.

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Syrian Refugees in Turkey 23
mursitpinar
By Ulrik Pedersen
26 Sep 2014

Two brothers looking after each other in a small refugee camp next to the border of Syria. Mursitpinar, Turkey.

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Syrian Refugees in Turkey Colour 17
kobane
By Ulrik Pedersen
26 Sep 2014

View of Syria from Turkey. Syrians are not allowed to take cars, trucks or animals across the border, so they try to stay safe by being close to the border. ISIS are less than 1 km away from the border. Kobane Valley, Syria.

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Syrian Refugees in Turkey Colour 18
mursitpinar
By Ulrik Pedersen
26 Sep 2014

A woman looking after a baby in a refugee tent near the Syrian border. Mursitpinar, Turkey.

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Syrian Refugees in Turkey 08
By Ulrik Pedersen
25 Sep 2014

Women and children stand in front of Turkish police officers as they close the border at noon. Mursitpinar, Turkey.

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Syrian Refugees in Turkey 09
suruc
By Ulrik Pedersen
25 Sep 2014

Men signing up for refugee IDs. Syrians wants to return, but they still try to get refugee IDs in case they are not able to return in the near future. Suruc, Turkey.

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Syrian Refugees in Turkey 11
mursitpinar
By Ulrik Pedersen
25 Sep 2014

Syrians shuffle between Turkey and Kobane. Many of those who fled Kobane make multiple trips back and forth from Turkey during moments of calm in order to collect as many of their belongings as possible. This women is heading back into Syria. No one is sure if the Kurdish YPG forces will be able to hold IS at bay. Mursitpinar, Turkey.

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Syrian Refugees in Turkey 12
suruc
By Ulrik Pedersen
25 Sep 2014

Children lining up for food handouts. Both the Syrian areas around Kobane, and the Turkish areas around Suruc are inhabited predominantly by ethnic Kurds. Therefore, there has been an increased sense of solidarity and sympathy amongst those in Suruc toward the Kobane refugees. These food handouts are one manifestation of that sympathy. Suruc, Turkey.

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Syrian Refugees in Turkey 13
suruc
By Ulrik Pedersen
25 Sep 2014

A girl from Kobane in a car with her family on the way to the border from Suruc. Suruc, Turkey.

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Syrian Refugees in Turkey 14
suruc
By Ulrik Pedersen
25 Sep 2014

This infant was born 20 days prior, along with a twin. The two are beginning life in the most uncertain and dangerous of circumstances. Suruc, Turkey.

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Syrian Refugees in Turkey 15
suruc
By Ulrik Pedersen
25 Sep 2014

Small children continue playing amongst themselves with little understanding of what is happening. However, their parents are in a constant state of anxiety. Suruc, Turkey.

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Syrian Refugees in Turkey Colour 12
mursitpinar
By Ulrik Pedersen
25 Sep 2014

Syrians shuffle between Turkey and Kobane. Many of those who fled Kobane make multiple trips back and forth from Turkey during moments of calm in order to collect as many of their belongings as possible. This women is heading back into Syria. No one is sure if the Kurdish YPG forces will be able to hold IS at bay. Mursitpinar, Turkey.

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Mother, Child, and Kalashnikov
Kobane
By Ulrik Pedersen
24 Sep 2014

A Syrian women from Kobane with her child and AK-47 Assault Rifle on the Turkish-Syrian border, near Kobane. Thousands of Syrians from Kobane fled the ISIS assault on their city for the nearby sanctuary of Turkey. Across Iraq and Syria women are taking up arms against ISIS.

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Syrian Refugees in Turkey 04
mursitpinar
By Ulrik Pedersen
24 Sep 2014

A young girl looking after her younger sibling on the Turkey-Syria border. Mursitpinar, Turkey.

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Syrian Refugees in Turkey 05
mursitpinar
By Ulrik Pedersen
24 Sep 2014

A Turkish solder at the border. Due to internal problems between the Kurds and the Turkish government, there are tensions at the border. Mursitpinar, Turkey.

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Syrian Refugees in Turkey 06
mursitpinar
By Ulrik Pedersen
24 Sep 2014

The first families returning to Kobane after ISIS was hit by US airstrikes nearby. Many returned to Turkey afterward as ISIS continued pushing closer to the center of Kobane, scaring residents away once again. Mursitpinar, Turkey.

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Syrian Refugees in Turkey 03
mursitpinar
By Ulrik Pedersen
24 Sep 2014

An old woman is helped by the Turkish military at the Turkey-Syria border. Mursitpinar, Turkey.

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Syrian Refugees in Turkey 07
suruc
By Ulrik Pedersen
24 Sep 2014

Children relaxing on a blanket where they also sleep in a park in Suruc. Suruc, Turkey.

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Protecting an Ancient Damascus Synagogue
Damascus
By Abdu al-Fadel
19 Sep 2014

September 19, 2014
al-Madares Street, Jobar, Damascus

Local citizens protect and maintain an ancient Jewish synagogue in the besieged Damascus suburb of Jobar, despite the heavy damage inflicted on it by heavy clashes between the FSA and Syrian Army. Located at the end of al-Madares street, the synagogue is believed to date from 720 BCE and was a temple for the prophet Khedr and prophet Elias.

The monument was largely neglected by the Syrian government before the war and has been damaged many times with mortars and bombs during the war. However, its local caretaker, and the inhabitants of the area continue to care for the building, as they have for decades.

Shot list:
Various shots show the location of the synagogue and the damage to the building.
Various shots show the remains of the synagogue, such as historical artifacts and some ancient writings
Various shots show an underground chamber that is said to have been used by prophet Khedr to pray
Various shots show the massive destruction that happened around the synagogue

Sound Bites:
Abu Loay, a member of the local committee of Jobar, interested in the issue of the synagogue, explains the story of the synagogue from its establishment to the present day.
(00:39)

Interviewer: How long have you had this job?

Abu Loay: We have been taking care of the synagogue for the past 2-3 years. There used to be a guard here, but he left after the problems started, and then the inhabitants of the area left, so we came here, the men and myself. We are taking care of it. The citizens and the elderly of this town asked us to stay here and guard the synagogue and until now, it has not been attacked.

Interviewer: How was the synagogue looking when you started working here?

Abu Loay: It was amazing, it had fence and it was an ancient historical monument, it goes back thousands of years.
Interviewer: Were there any Jews living in the area?

Abu Loay: Here in Jobar we did not have any Jews, but back in the days of our grandparents, we used to have Jews. When I was a child, I remember there was a big percentage of Jews in the Jewish street. They used to come every Saturday from the Jewish street to visit the synagogue here. When Israel was established, many of the Jews left, that was along time ago.

Interviewer: Were there huge numbers of Jews in Damascus?

Abu Loay: Yes of course, they all used to live in the Jewish street, an area named the Jewish street, in the old city of Damascus.

Interviewer: When did they leave and where did they go?

Abu Loay: Most of them went to Israel, the government back then gave them a choice, to either stay here or leave, and a lot of them chose to leave.

Interviewer: How was the synagogue destroyed?

Abu Loay: About two years ago, from the side of Harasta, they [Syrian Army] attacked us with the multiple rocket launcher. Over 15 shells were dropped at the same time. I took footage of the incident and then I tried [to expose the attack], I went to many media outlets, trying to call the Jews to come and protect the synagogue, but nobody responded. They [Syrian Army] hit the ceiling in two spots and the kitchen burnt down.

Interviewer: Why did you keep protecting the synagogue if the Jews themselves did not respond and did not come to protect it?

Abu Loay: First of all, the synagogue is located in my town, I am from Jobar. Secondly, it is a legacy, not only for the Jews, but also for us. It is a legacy for the citizens of Jobar. It is thousands of years old and it is as valuable as any church or mosque.

Interviewer: Being here in the synagogue, do you feel any attachment to this place?

Abu Loay: I swear I feel like it is my own home. I was sleeping right here, with my wife and children, and if I have to go somewhere I lock the place up. I was residing here for about six months.

Interviewer: How did you feel when the synagogue was attacked and destroyed?

Abu Loay: I felt like I lost a piece of my heart. Only someone who lives here will understand the true value of this synagogue.

Interviewer: Do you think there is a way to repair the synagogue?

Abu Loay: In this condition, all of this wreckage must be removed, they destroyed it. Go back to the old pictures of the synagogue and compare, it used to be heaven.

Interviewer: Do you speak Hebrew?

Abu Loay: No I only speak the language of Jobar.

Interviewer: Do you mind escorting us on a tour around the synagogue?

Abu Loay: Of course, I do not mind, let’s take the tour.
(04:28)

(04:33) Here there used to be the main door, and there, it used to be a kitchen. There is the room I used to sleep in.
This room was an office and I used to sleep in it. The women used to sleep upstairs, and this was a storage room. The main temple is in the back. This is the only tree that is still living.

(05:44) This is a new building, and there were rooms and the rooftop.
That used to be the entrance of the synagogue, and there use to be two rooms up there. And there was a water well.
Can you see this slot in the wall, they used to store the oil cans in their. Near the pile of rocks there used to be the alter. Those two chambers are completely destroyed.

(07:17) Look at the pigeon nest in the gap in the wall. That was here before the shelling.
This is an old school, and there used to be a wall here, the old school is for UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency].
There used to be a room, then a small hall and then another room, all ancient.
This carpet is from the remains of the temple, they used to love those colors, our brothers the Jews. This is another one, everything valuable we were able to find after the destruction, we removed it.

(08:39) Here used to be a huge bronze round plate, and here is the step of the prophet. Here they used to keep the oil, here they used to have books, and there was the seating area. The building was ancient and the temple had a very high ceiling.

(09:30) Here, where I am walking, used to be the few steps leading to the alter. Where I am standing now is the location of the alter. It was about half a circle and made out of wood and the chandeliers above it, it used to be amazing.

(10:20) Those gaps in the walls used to have frames, and here used to be a painting, and next to it a bronze box labeled "Charity".
And here, as we said before, they used to keep the oil.

(11:28) Here is the prayer chamber, our grandfathers used to say that the prophet Khedr used to come to pray here. This hole in the ceiling was an air vent for this chamber, but the shelling has destroyed most of the room.

(12:21) Look what the destruction did to it. The last time they dropped vacuum bombs on this area, the buildings around the synagogue were also destroyed.

(12:41) There used to be four candlesticks and a chair, an antique chair, they are not destroyed, we preserved them.

(13:05) This is the wreckage of the synagogue. They [Syrian Military] attacked us with many types of weapons, including jets. The last airstrike, they dropped vacuum bombs on us and destroyed all of the buildings.

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Migrant's Video Captures Perilous Med...
Mediterranean Sea
By mchreyteh
01 Sep 2014

The Mediterranean Sea
September 1, 2014

A Syrian refugee captures with his mobile phone a perilous clandestine journey to Europe and the hardship faced by the illegal migrants before they were rescued by a tanker.

It all starts with the refugees being herded into apartments, that the smuggler has rented, in a poor neighborhood of Alexandria. Walid (not the character’s real name), a 31-year-old from Homs, managed to get himself into Lebanon, from where he was able to board a flight to Cairo. Luckily he had a valid passport.

A few days later the smuggler gives the signal that it’s time to move. Under the cover of darkness, Walid and over one hundred refugees, from Syria and other countries, walk for two hours until they reach the seafront. They were divided into four small fishing boats and drove for five hours, before reaching two larger fishing boats onto which they were transferred.

The two boats sailed side-by-side for three days until they reached an old ferry. The 250 refugees, including many women and children, were told that this boat would take them to Italy. After four days at sea, they were running out of food and water. Some refugees got seasick.

Walid and other men confronted the captain after finding out that he was woefully inexperienced at driving a boat. He was relying on calls from the human trafficking gang, on his satellite phone, to give him directions. The satellite phone was broken in the fighting and the boat was then lost at sea.

It took the captain a day and a half to fix the satellite phone, by which time the refugees were hungry, thirsty, and exhausted. At night they saw a light in the distance from a ship heading to Spain. This meant that they had still not reached Italian waters. As the two boats passed each other, the crew on the boat headed to Spain must have caught sight of the refugees because they called the International Red Cross who told them to give the refugees water and food. After doing this the boat sailed on.

In the morning the boat with refugees set sail again but a storm broke. One of the engines broke down and people started panicking and screaming. They saw a large boat and started trying to call it over with a torch signal. After about three hours the crew of the large boat decided to take the refugees to Sicily where the Italian authorities conducted physical examinations, and separated them according to nationality.

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Balkan migrant route 14
Bogovadja
By Mauro Prandelli
25 Jul 2014

The population of Bogovadja has different opinions on the presence of the migrants. Some of them accuse the migrants of small robberies, others see them as an economic source. In the winter of 2014 the citizens, also supported by extreme right wing groups, made a demonstration in Bogovadja to ask for control and safety against the migrants. After some months the citizens have got used to their presence.

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Balkan migrant route 15
Bogovadja
By Mauro Prandelli
25 Jul 2014

The contacts with the taxi drivers who bring the migrants to the Hungarian borders take place at the cafes, one of which is at the begging of the wood and the other at the end of the wood, along the road which passes through the whole country. To reach the Hungarian borders the taxi drivers ask the migrants to pay from 50 to 300 Euros. Many drivers work for the immigration racket, others prefer to work alone with their customers.

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Balkan migrant route 12
Bogovadja
By Mauro Prandelli
24 Jul 2014

During the Ramadan groups of migrants meet in the wood in the evening to share the Iftar, the only allowed meal during the Ramadan. Each migrant shares with the others what he can afford. After the Iftar those who stay at the reception camps go back to the center, the others seek shelter in the wood.

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Balkan migrant route 13
Bogovadja
By Mauro Prandelli
24 Jul 2014

In the evening the migrants who do not stay in the reception camp go back to the wood in Bogovadja. S., a man from Sudan, was sent away from Macedonia, where he lived with his fiancée, due to legal problems and he is now trying to reach Europe to have a new life and start the legal steps to meet his son.

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Balkan migrant route 16
Bogovadja
By Mauro Prandelli
24 Jul 2014

Afghanistan and Syrian migrants wait for the taxi to go to collect the money from a bank which is at few kilometers from Bogovadja. The day after they will leave for the Hungarian borders with the help of a taxi driver for 50 Euros per person.

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Balkan migrant route 11
Bogovadja
By Mauro Prandelli
23 Jul 2014

The migrants on the Balkan route use the reception camps to rest before continuing their journeys. After signing some documents at the police office they can get a permission lasting for three days; after the three days they can either leave Serbia or ask for political asylum. Some centers offer legal support to start the requests.

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Balkan migrant route 10
Bogovadja
By Mauro Prandelli
21 Jul 2014

Minors and families are admitted in the camp of Bogovadja. If the weather is bad some migrants, who are not accepted in the camp, are allowed to sleep under the portico to protect from the rain.

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Balkan migrant route 18
Banja Koviljaca
By Mauro Prandelli
21 Jul 2014

M., 20 years old, is North African but he declared to the authorities to be Syrian to be accepted by the reception camp and seek shelter in Europe as a refugee of the Syrian civil war.