19 Mar 2015
Syrian refugees want to return to their homes despite the challenges they will face in rebuilding their lives. Many Syrian refugees who fled to Turkey to escape the violent attacks of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have begun their journeys home now that their hometown of Kobane is free. The remaining refugees are trying to find financial means and moral support to do the same. Kobane was liberated from ISIL terrorists in January with the help of Kurdish soldiers and the US-led international coalition. Most of the nearly 2 million Syrian refugees in Turkey are women and children, since men stayed behind to fight the enemy. According to official records, 200,000 refugees came from Kobane. Yakup Aslan, a local manager in Van for MAZLUMDER, a Turkish NGO, said the organisation is trying to help refugees return to Syria. “Our office in Sanliurfa is helping those who want to go back to Rojova,” Aslan said. “As an NGO, we are visiting the refugee families and help them as best as we can. We especially reach out to the refugees in Van, Hakkari, Bitlis and Agri.” Aslan said most of the refugees who have made it back to their hometowns were being housed in the border provinces such as Sanliurfa, Diyarbakir and Mardin. But those staying far from the border need more support to make the trip. Aziza Muhammedi, a Syrian refugee in Van, has four children, including a newborn baby. She is begging in the streets to provide for her family. “We were happy in our country. We were getting by with what we had, but when the gangs [ISIL] appeared they ruined everything,” Muhammedi told SES Turkiye. “We had to come here. But people in Turkey have no jobs, they are very poor, too. How can we find jobs when Turks can’t?” Muhammedi said she has no other option than begging for money in the streets. Hamdullah Muhammedi said he was happy to be staying in Turkey. He told SES Türkiye that the local people helped his family to start a new life. “We will not forget the support that the Muradiye Municipality and the local people showed us,” he said. “We have food, clothes. We are very comfortable. In any case, we want to go back home. Some of our relatives went back to Kobane, but Kobane is in ruins. We need international help to rebuild our city so we can restart our lives.” Refugee children also want to return home and go back to their schools. Hevidar Ahmedi, 7, said people don’t like the refugees and treat them badly. “We don’t have food to eat. We are not happy here. My mother says we will go back home soon. I am waiting for our turn,” Hevidar said.