Syrian town of Kobane starts rebuilding after liberation from ISIL

Refugee and Migrant Crisis

Hundreds of Syrian refugees from Kobane have trickled back to the northern Syrian town following its liberation from Islamic State militants two weeks ago. CCTV’s Natalie Carney reported the story from Suruc, Turkey.

Syrian town of Kobane starts rebuilding after liberation from ISIL

Hundreds of Syrian refugees from Kobane have trickled back to the northern Syrian town following its liberation from Islamic State militants two weeks ago. CCTV's Natalie Carney reported the story from Suruc, Turkey.

Kobane lies in ruins as the result of four months of intensive fighting to rid itself from Islamic State militants. Un-exploded mortar shells are left abandoned and dirty children’s toys lie among the debris of bombed out buildings and bullet-riddled cars. Armed fighters continued to patrol the largely deserted streets.

Kobane mayor Anwar Muslim told CCTV that 80 percent of the buildings in the town were destroyed.

“The aftermath of explosions is still there, with a lot of victims’ bodies that need to be cleared. This takes a long time to do, and the town will be unlivable until these jobs are done,” Muslim said.

Continued fighting between the main Kurdish People’s Protection Units, the YPG, and the Islamic State in surrounding villages along with the remains of un-exploded ordinances make it impossible to asses the damages, Fouzia Abdi, who is in charge of the Kobane reconstruction committees being set up, said.

“Now we can’t decide it will cost so and so because still we have villages that under the control of ISIS,” Abdi, Co-President of the Kobane Legislative Council said. “After the liberation we will count everything from agriculture, from homes, from animals…”

Meanwhile, the landscape of rubble has also become a major symbol of resistance against the jihadists, and there are many who want to keep it that way.

Kobane officials have asked Turkey, whose border provides the only passage available in war ravaged Syria, to open a humanitarian corridor so they can start repairing damaged water mains, electricity lines, and provide basic needs for refugees eager to return home.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the reconstruction of Kobane is necessary to ensure a future for the more than 200,0000 Syrian refugees who fled the fighting to neighboring Turkey. But he said that the Turkish government would not have any part in that reconstruction.

The Turkish state’s fraught history with its own Kurdish population has made the government skeptical of providing too much support to the Kurdish border town.

Yet billion dollar investments by Turkey’s private sector in Kurdish northern Iraq has led to strong relations there.