Hard life for refugees from Serêkaniyê

22 December 2012 – ANF –  Tens of thousands of people from the West Kurdistan city of Serêkaniyê were displaced and moved to the town of Ceylanpınar (Urfa).

Tens of thousands of people from the West Kurdistan city of Serêkaniyê were displaced and moved to the town of Ceylanpınar (Urfa) as they escaped clashes between armed groups and People’s Defence Units (YPG) forces since late November. The clashes in the city first broke out between Assad regime’s army and several armed groups which are allegedly affiliated to Free Syrian Army and supported by the Turkish government.

Women and children make up the majority of the people who are now challenging aggravated living conditions in Ceylanpınar (Serê Kanî). Some of these thousands of people have been sent to refugee camps, while over five thousand have started to live with their families and relatives in the town. Thousands of others have rented houses or set up tents in gardens in the town, with many others struggling for life in ruined and abandoned houses or studio type shops.

Mayor of Ceylanpınar İsmail Arslan tells that the workers of the municipality as well as the residents in the town are helping and paying visits to people from Serêkaniyê as best as they can. Arslan calls attention to challenging living conditions for the families from West Kurdistan and calls the powers and states behind the armed groups attacking Serêkaniyê to end supporting these groups so that that the conflict environment in the region could end and people could turn back to their hometown as soon as possible.

Fifty-six year-old woman Edla Hesen, who is now giving a struggle for life in the garden of a benevolent citizen in Aydınlık Neighborhood of Ceylanpınar, tells that she abandoned her hometown and moved to Ceylanpınar to protect her children from ravenous and furious armed gangs. Hesen says that she and her eight children are now trying to making a living from the financial supports of the BDP municipality and residents in the neighborhood.

Another woman Eyşe Abdulkadir bedamns those who have displaced her family and thousands of other people from their land. Eyşe and five other families are giving a struggle to life in a house which is still under construction and has no doors or windows which they have therefore needed to cover with blankets and nylons to prevent the cold entering inside. Eyşe tells that they had earlier turned back to Serêkaniyê upon official authorities’ call to “return home” where they were however subjected to bombardments by warplanes on the first day. “We do not believe or trust in the armed gangs or the Assad regime which have devastated all houses and workplaces in our city. They killed people in unprecedented massacres. Even here, our children cannot sleep from fear”, she says.

Another woman from Serêkaniyê, 47 years-old Fatima Ezîz, tells that all peoples in Serêkaniyê had been living in peace until Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces entered the city in recent months. “There is no problem between we Kurds and Arabs who have all been displaced from their homeland after the attacks of FSA forces that devastated our houses, killed our 14 year-old children and forced us to escape here so that we could save our families”, she says. Fatima, who is now living in a ruined earth house with around 30 other people who share the same faith with her, says that they will not hesitate to turn back to their homeland and to live in their own houses, even if they become ruined or unusable, once the conflict environment ends in their territory. 

Ceylanpınar citizen Selanik Homan says that their lives have been upside down since the beginning of clashes in Serêkaniyê and tells the followings; “The people of Ceylanpınar started to live in restlessness and fear since the clashes first broke out in West Kurdistan. The town which had a population of 46 thousand now hosts 75 thousand people. The sounds of clashes and bombardments have greatly affected the people here and their children who are waking up in the middle of the night and starting to cry. We are filled with apprehension even while sending our children to schools”. Homan notes that the people in Ceylanpınar are also concerned over numerous members of armed gangs who have moved to the town together with thousands of civilians having escaped clashes in Serêkaniyê. Homan added that their concerns over these people were because of the expected increase in cases of theft, robbery and similar events and civil strife in Ceylanpınar as well.