Turkey: Kobane threat underscores human crisis

Source:                  www.MNNonline.org

Date:                      June 26, 2015

 

Wikipedia_Kobane facton Feb2014

Map showing de facto cantons of Western Kurdistan (Rojava) in February 2014.
(Wikipedia)

Turkey (MNN) — As ISIS makes a deadly play for Kobane, refugees ping-pong from Syria to Turkey, and back again.

“The human crisis just grows, whatever happens within Syria,” says Steve Van Valkenburg with Christian Aid Mission.

“[There are] a lot of people caught in the middle.”

Kobane raid

The Islamic State’s attack on Kobane–located in northern Syria along the border with Turkey–began at dawn yesterday, with terrorists entering the city in cars flying the Syrian Free Army flag.

Wikipedia_Kobane,_Syria

A view point of the city Kobanê, in Syrian Kurdistan, during the bombardment of ISIS targets by US-led forces, The photo has been taken from Turkish-Syrian border (Suruç).
(Photo: M. Akhavan / Persian Dutch Network via Wikipedia)

According to BBC News, dozens were killed and scores more injured in the raid. ISIS militants also stormed the largest town in northeastern Syria, EFE reports.

These Islamic State attacks and resulting political uproar in Turkey only add to an ever-growing tragedy.

“The more the war goes on, like in Kobane, the more [you’ll] have people fleeing, and the more needs [you’ll have],” Van Valkenburg observes.

Add to that the fact that neighboring countries are running out of room–and patience–for Syrian refugees, and the crisis grows to a new level.

Refugee ping-pong

Turkey currently holds over 1.5 million Syrian refugees and has turned away thousands more in recent days.

Syrian refugees arrive at Turkish border town of Akcakale.  (Image, caption courtesy Christian Aid Mission)

Syrian refugees arrive at Turkish border town of Akcakale.
(Image, caption courtesy Christian Aid Mission)

“About 15,000 of the refugees were there waiting to cross the border and enter into Turkey because they were escaping from ISIS,” an indigenous missionary told Christian Aid Mission.

“But when they [refugees] came to the border, the Turkish government didn’t let them in.”

From June 3 to 16, over 23,000 Syrians fled to Turkey to find safe haven. Turkey, already home to 1.7 million Syrian refugees, forced hundreds back into the waiting hands of ISIS.

“Turkey doesn’t really want to always receive [refugees], and often they’ll try to repel them and keep them in Syria. And then, of course, ISIS comes,” shares Van Valkenburg.

Those fleeing yesterday’s violence in Kobane will likely face a similar response once they reach the crossing gate. But, not all hope is lost.

Christian Aid Mission partners are there at the border when refugees face rejection, meeting physical and spiritual needs.

“When people have hope, then they can endure all kinds of things,” says Van Valkenburg.

“For a refugee, when there is somebody that comes and says, ‘There is a God who cares. There is a God that we can rest in and trust in and call out to for help,’ that gives them hope. And when people have hope, then they can live.”

Your turn

By clicking here, you can help refugees face another tomorrow.

Children help offload aid at a tent camp for refugees in Turkey.  (Image, caption courtesy Christian Aid Mission)

Children help offload aid at a tent camp for refugees in Turkey.
(Image, caption courtesy Christian Aid Mission)

“This is not a time to draw back,” Van Valkenburg says. “This is a time to really press forward and to help even more people.”

Refugees’ needs are growing and ongoing, despite the fact that support is running dangerously low.

“This is really a great opportunity for Christians to enable assistance to be given out to the refugees.”

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