I’d rather go back to my city, no matter living in a tent

Arya Haci

photo: Arya Haci

“The displacement we witnessed is more severe than the killing of my two sons,” Um Ahmad said, a displaced woman from the city of Serê Kaniyê (Ras Al-Ain). She comes from the city of Girê Sipî (Tal Abyad), but had lived in Serê Kaniyê after she was displaced with her entire family from her city to Serê Kaniyê after ISIS attacks on the city. “Serê Kaniyê was like a paradise for us, the life there used to be calm and peaceful,” Um Ahmad said with a heartache.

After suffering the torment of displacement, she ended up in a tent inside (Newroz Camp) in the city of Dêrik. The same camp which was a shelter for thousands of Yazidi refugees over five years, has now become a refuge for the people of Serê Kaniyê and Girê Sipî as well. While Um Ahmad, her husband and grandchildren sit outside, drinking tea alongside their tent, all the signs of sadness appear on their exhausted faces.

She lost two of her sons in the war against ISIS, another third sln had been kidnapped whose fate is still unknown. Her grandchildren play around and cling to her always unintentionally, because she has become everything for them, mother, father and grandmother. “Whenever I look at my grandchildren, my heart breaks. Where can I take them? How can I protect them from all the death surrounding us?” Says Um Ahmad while breathing heavily. “When US troops evacuated its bases in our city, Turkey immediately began bombing us; we fled barefoot, we escaped from death”.

Whenever she completes part of her speech, she turns to her grandchildren and takes a peek at them to reassure them. “One of our neighbors’ houses was in pro Turkish invasion, because one of their family members is a fighter in the Turkish-led factions, they threatened us to leave our house,”

Hunger, fear, and grief dominated the whole family. After staying 20 days in the city of Tel Koçer, they headed to Newroz camp in Dêrik and joined the IDPs of Afrin, Kobani, Girê Spî and Serê Kaniyê.

“I’d rather go back to my city, no matter living in a tent on its street,” This was all what her husband Abu Ahmad said while moving toward their tent without looking back.