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Testimony of Kurdish Refugees from Sere Kaniye (Ras al-Ain) and Ger Balat

Updated: Apr 2

Mohammed Muhsen Ibrahim (center), and his family from Syria who fled the Turkish offensive, October 17, 2019 (K.B)

The following are excerpts from interviews conducted by Kareem Botane with Syrian Kurdish refugees who succeeded in reaching Iraqi Kurdistan during the week October 10-17. The interviews were conducted in Kurdish and have been translated and edited by Kareem Botane and MECRA staff. The total number Kurds from Rojava who have been received by the Kurdish Regional Government in northern Iraq exceeds 1,800 individuals. The refugees are currently resident in the Domiz and Bardarash camps. Some of them were wounded in the airstrikes and Botane met one woman who had been rendered deaf because of ordnance falling in close proximity to her. More Syrian Kurds are expected to arrive in the coming days.

Mohammed Muhsen Ibrahim, 50

We came from Sarekaniyeh. We left when the bombardment began. We went to an urban area near to Sarekaniyeh. Turkey was hitting us with airstrikes and artillery.

Eight of our relatives were killed in the last days by airstrikes in Sere Kaniyeh. They were civilians. They were not able to come with us because they were searching for their loved ones. The road was then cut. We ourselves barely survived the bombardment and airstrikes

After we left, we stayed for three days in an urban area without food and water. Then, we went to Qamishili where we stayed there one day. We hired a smuggler to take us out from Rojava to Iraqi Kurdistan. We paid $4000 in total. After we crossed the border the Peshmerga received us and they provided us with help and assistance.

We can't trust America anymore, they betrayed us. And we don't have any hope with the rest of forces on the ground there such as Russia and the Syrian regime.

Our message to the world? We ask the world to to stop Turkey, to stop this killing. And provide humanitarian aid. There are still many people who need help and to be saved in Rojava.

At the moment I am taking to you my son called me and he said now I am on the move, by motorbike. All the cities near to the border are surrounded and the area will fall soon.

All the cities near to the border are surrounded and the area will fall soon.

Fatima, 60 years old, from Hasakeh Province

We came from Ger Balat in Hasakeh Province. They were bombing around our area and all the people fled. I saw bombardment on the area around us. We were many families that escaped from there – men, women and children. From there we were walking one day on our feet. Then we arrived to the border to the Peshmerga but we did not pay anything to smugglers. If the situation got better we will be going back but as long the situations is as now we will not go back.

Fatima, a refugee and her family from Syria who fled the Turkish offensive, October 17, 2019 (Kareem Botane)

Kurdistan Youfis, 40, from Sere Kaniyeh

We came from Sarekaniye. Turkey is bombing the city from the beginning of their operation. We stayed there one then we went out. We were many people died but I didn't see them. After we went out to Qamishili we stayed there one night, then moved on towards Derik. The attacks differed in the varous areas we were in. For example, in Qamishili there was artillery bombardment and in Sarekaniye there were airstrikes. Then, in Derik we made a deal with smugglers. For each individual we had to pay $600 to get across the border. We were three persons in my family so we paid $1,800.

People were crossing by horse, on foot, and by car. Many people fell from the horses as it was a hard and mountainous area. After we crossed, the Peshmerga received us in somewhere in the border area. We were taken to a ‘scanning’ area after we arrived. They took our names and we stayed there one night. Then they brought us here to Bardarash camp. The situation here is not good, we wont be staying here for long - we will move on to Erbil. Today, Turkey attacked Serekaniyeh using chemical weapons.

I don’t believe the situation will get better soon. It's very bad there. My message to the one hear me. Please stop this and let our children go back to their school. Please help the Kurds, Kurdish people are good and they need your help. Kurds have rights which should be given to them.

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