Due to the damage to Kobane during the war with Daesh (ISIS), and the resulting deliberate booby-trapping of homes and villages thousands of people have been made homeless. Because of the mines or complete destruction many cannot return to their homes and farms. As a result, Kobane hosts an internally displaced people camp- Mishtanur camp- holding several thousand people. Despite the massive destruction to the city, and though it struggles to provide them with essential basic needs, Kobane still finds a way to support them.
Within this camp exists a smaller camp especially for the families of the martyrs- consisting of the wives and children of the fighters who had died fighting Daesh. Yesterday the Kobane Reconstruction Board (KRB) organised, along with the Family of Martyrs Association, to hand out much needed winter clothes, including jackets, sweaters, jeans, hats and shirts as well as toys for the children (princess Jasmine dolls for all the kids because boys can also play with dolls and the boys were just as eager to get the toys as the girls). Earlier in the month KRB organised to provide the families of martyrs with much needed heaters and other heating necessities.
The KRB is currently working on creating an apartment complex district to house the martyrs families but the rebuilding has slowed down since for the past month Turkey has stopped the flow of all building materials, including much needed cement, mental, glass and wood needed for all current construction projects.
We were expecting the border to be opened again and for the urgently needed cement to come through yesterday but were disappointed to find that it remained firmly closed. The Basur to Rojava border is likewise firmly shut. We remain in urgent need of a humanitarian corridor where basic needs are transferred legally, safely, freely and without restrains across the borders but as is the norm with international politics the rights of sovereign states to use urgent humanitarian needs as a political tool comes before ethics and basic decency.
International solidarity groups and organisations who come to visit us often ask us what we need them to do to help. One thing that is essential is the need to demand, demand, demand and speak of the need for a humanitarian corridor into Rojava and especially Kobane. We have Drs and surgeons who resort to travelling personally between borders and carry back boxes of medication and supplies, or ask friends to do it. No large containers of aid and supplies are allowed through. Medical equipment are brought in by KRB members in their personal luggage. We have supplies of aid, winter clothes, blankets etc that are not allowed through. For this reason also there is an emphasis on collection of funds rather than sending containers of aid as most items can be sourced in Cezire canton; One other loophole is that if aid and supplies are purchased from Turkey they are (often) allowed through, i.e. medical equipment so the need for money has an added advantage.
If you stand in solidarity with humanity, with Kobane, with the Kurds then you need to help raise awareness of the need for the corridor. Like all children, these beautiful kids deserve to spend the rest of their lives growing up in a safe and comfortable environment.
But it looks like they will spend a hard winter in a camp because the transfer of cement across the border has taken on added political meaning used maliciously to keep already oppressed and marginalized people further down.