Post-war Kobane… a ghost city

The rubble of some houses next to a partially demigod mosque in Kobane. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

Kobane, Syria – Subsequent to four months of battles between the joint forces and militants of the Islamic State (IS/ISIS) in the Syrian border city of Kobane, the group was driven out of the area. However, the results were apparently disastrous in terms of the sheer number of residential buildings that were destroyed.

Speaking to News ARA News, Hana Osei, a 22-year-old girl, who came back to Kobane with her family a month ago, said: “We lived in one of our relatives’ houses because our house was completely destroyed, and we hoped that the concerned authorities in the city would help rebuild the destroyed residential buildings in Kobane; however, there seems to be a sharp shortage of capacities to rebuild our hometown.” 

“The situation is deteriorating here due to the remnants of the war across the city. We don’t know how long we can survive here, or whether we can continue living in Kobane or head to some other areas,” she contended.

Corpses Under Rubble

Muhammad Baki, a Kobane resident, told ARA News that the smell of corpses permeates the city streets, and if it continues, diseases and epidemics will most likely spread among returnees.

Baki pointed out that since his return weeks ago, members of the Kurdish Auto-Administration say they will take steps to remove the bodies from the rubble, “but nothing has changed at all, they are satisfied with cleaning streets, while ignoring the important things”.

“A few days ago, a specialist team of Exhumation came and dragged the bodies of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and then left,” Baki said, adding: “We were waiting for the team to end their work and drag all the dead bodies from the rabble, including those of IS militants.”


Fatima Buzan, 42, returned with her family to Kobane and encountered multiple difficulties trying to have a new beginning in her war-torn hometown. 

“I returned nearly a month ago and waited for the situation to improve, but no real change took place unfortunately,” she told ARA News. 

Buzan pointed out that there are organized gangs in the city, mostly women, stealing from houses, while other groups are searching for weapons carried by Islamists under the rubble.

“These arms’ dealers have links with the local authorities, perhaps they coordinate with them,” she added.

More than two months ago, Kobane was liberated but hit and run battles still continue in the countryside between the Islamic State and the Kurdish joint forces, while talking about the city’s reconstruction has stopped and turned into transforming the city into a museum. In the meantime, thousands of families remain displaced in neighboring Turkey. 


Reporting by: Beri Mohammed

Source: ARA News

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