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Kurdistan – Refugee’s Home In A Battle Zone

A Syrian Kurdish refugee woman with her daughter waits for transportation after crossing into Turkey from the Syrian border town Kobani, near the southeastern Turkish town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province October 2, 2014. More than 150,000 refugees have fled Kobani over the past two weeks alone, with a steady exodus continuing. Officials from Turkey's AFAD disaster management agency said some 4,000 crossed on Wednesday, and a similar figure the day before. REUTERS/Murad Sezer (TURKEY - Tags: POLITICS SOCIETY IMMIGRATION CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)


“We lived our entire lives in Mosul – the ancient city of Nineveh – Jews, Christians, Muslims all side by side in peace. Then entered ISIS, threatening us with death or conversion.” The woman began swelling up with tears. “We were forced to flee, leaving all our belongings behind – animals, cars, clothes, books – and traveled by foot to Kurdistan. Here we are treated with great kindness; given a home, a place to worship, without threat. Thanks to God for the kindness of Kurds!”


This month I’m enjoying the hospitality of Lawand Talal, a Kurdish attorney who advocates for refugees in Kurdistan on behalf of UNHCR: The United Nations High Commission on Refugees. After 300 cups of tea, I am appreciating first hand how complex are the conflicting agendas of the powers in this region. But what is abundantly clear is that the people afflicted – mainly Syrians and Iraqis – overwhelming want to simply return and to live in peace. Refuge offered in neighboring Kurdistan, Greece, or the United States is admirable, but does not address their deepest desire: home.


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