Forcible displacement

 Dilovan Çeto

photo:  Dilovan Çeto

“I no longer care about my children or myself, we found a house to settle in, our situation is step by step being improved, but I always think about my neighbors, friends and my people from Serê Kaniyê (Ras Al-Ain) who right now are living in tents and their children suffer from the cold winter,” said Mullah Mohammad Barakat, who is an 80 years old Imam of Al-Bukhari mosque in the city of Serê Kaniyê (Ras Al-Ain), who had been forced to leave his city with his wife and 4 children on the 9th of October and now lives in the city of Qamishlo. He suffers from a bad psychological issue due to the non-stop thinking of the people of his city.

Mulla Mohammad recalls the last hours before he was displaced with his family from Serê Kaniyê (Ras Al-Ain) and says that in those moments the Turkish artillery shelling was so rough and wild that the civilians could not bring any of their needs with them except the clothes they were wearing. From the beginning Mulla Mohammad had decided not to leave his home no matter what happens, especially since he has 3 disabled children (two boys and a girl) and also that Mulla, his wife and a daughter take various medications because of many diseases.

When the Turkish artillery started targeting the city, he moved his family to a nearby mosque to take it as a shelter. “On the first day of the shelling, we stayed in the mosque until the evening, but even the mosque was not safe from the brutal shelling, so we had to call for help to get us out, my grandson who works for a civil society organization, here started our displacement journey” Mulla says.

The safest route that everyone were taking was to Tel Tamr city, so his grandson took them to a village called Al-Tuwaymiyah, which is located between Tal Tamr and Serê Kaniyê.

“We arrived at the village, unfortunately it was completely empty. We entered one of the houses, it was very clear that the house had been left recently, it was still warm and their food was still on the table,” says Mulla.

Mulla and his family stayed that night in the village, but they all woke up early in the morning to the sound of Turkish warplanes bombing their city Serê Kaniyê. Sounds of the explosions shook all the windows of the house, they knew at the time that the situation was not safe anymore, so they had to leave the village as the others did, the difficulty was that three of his sons were unable to walk, and the rest were old, it was very hard very hard for them to walking to the city of Tal Tamr. Despite that, they set out on foot towards Tal Tamr, sometimes they were walking and sometimes resting. While Mulla was asking every passing car about the situation in his city Serê Kaniyê, but nobody answered him because everyone was busy with moving his family to a safer place. After so much hardships, they managed to reach the Asayîş (police) checkpoint, there a vehicle transported them to the city of Tal Tamr where they wanted to go.

The majority of the IDPs have taken schools as shelters, and those who have relatives have taken shelter at them. A camp called (Washokanî) was opened recently in Hasaka. According to official statistics of humanitarian relief organizations, 478 civilians were killed and other 1070 injured, more than 300,000 civilians were displaced as a result of the Turkish aggression against Serê Kaniyê (Ras Al-Ain) and Girê Sipî (Tal Abyad). 810 schools are being used as shelters for the IDPs, which forced the stop the educational process for 86,000 students.

Currently, Mulla Mohammad and his family settled in Qamishlo, when they arrived they had nothing in the house because they left everything in their house they fled. One of the worst things they are going through is the lack of medications for his family. Nevertheless, the morale of the Mulla is very high, he smiles when he see the people of Qamishlo taking care of his family, showing great interest to them, providing them with the household needs they need.

Mulla sighs while recalling his city, it was a heartbreaking news for him when a friend of him called him and said that the entire city had been looted by the Turkish-led radical Islamic factions