PYD forces Syrians to seek refuge in Iraqi Kurdistan / PYD blocks Refugee – Roads

25 August 2013 /TODAY’S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL – Around 150,000 Syrian Kurds were forced to flee their country for Iraqi Kurdistan after a crackdown on residents by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), amid ongoing clashes between the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front and the PYD — a Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) offshoot, the Zaman daily reported on Saturday.

The Syrian migrants who are placed in camps in Iraqi Kurdistan reportedly live under very difficult circumstances. A Syrian named Adnan, who currently lives in Kawrgosk camp, told the Zaman daily that “the PYD seized everything, from our tractors to our food. We only have our honor left. We were forced to flee.”

The people of Syria had to deal with clashes between the al-Nusra Front and the PYD, as well as with President Bashar al-Assad’s regime forces who constantly stage crackdowns on Syrians. The situation has forced tens of thousands of Syrians to flee their homeland.

The Syrians who fled to Iraqi Kurdistan have been placed in camps located around the provinces of Arbil, Dohuk, Zaho and Suleymaniyah. The refugees in the camps, which are run by the United Nations and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), suffer from a shortage of water and electricity, as well as food and clothing.

The Zaman daily visited Kawrgosk camp, 25 kilometers away from Arbil, to witness what the refugees are experiencing. According to the newspaper, the camp welcomed 13,500 new refugees in the last three days alone.

Though new tents are added to the camp every day, hundreds of families spend their days on a blanket or a rug. Aid by the KRG sent to camps in trucks are snatched up by the refugees. People fight with each other in complete chaos just for a pillow or a rug when trucks arrive in the area.

Despite the KRG’s efforts, the future of the camp seems to be uncertain as the number of refugees increases each day and as winter is approaching. Most of the residents in the camp have already started to worry about winter since they are living in summer tents provided by the UN. They fear their problems will multiply when it starts to rain.

A refugee named Adnan told the Zaman reporter that he used to live in Syria’s Qamishli province before he fled his country. Tearing up while recounting what he went through, Adnan said, “The PYD told us that they had fought for us and we had to support them with provisions in exchange.” Other Syrian refugees said the PYD also took their children while members of al-Nusra had killed many in the country.

The members of the Beshir family — four disabled children aged 1, 2, 3 and 4, their disabled father Saim and mother Safiyah — came from the Derik region of Syria without any possessions. Saim said that his wife has constantly been crying since they left their country because they cannot meet their children’s needs.

According to Saim, there had been no problems in the Kurdish region when the civil war started in Syria but resident were pressured since the PYD settled there. “Assad’s men, the PYD, came to our region before Assad himself and we had no choice but to leave the country,” he said. Another Syrian refugee, Nihad Mihemmed, said he and his wife came to the camp three days ago. Mihemmed accused the PYD of working with Assad’s regime forces and said that as a Kurd, he supports the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

Mihemmed said members of the PYD had detained and tortured regime opponents in Kurdish provinces, which is why they had to leave their country.