HIC-MENA [ Habitat International Coalition ]

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What is affected
Housing Private
Land Private
Type of violation Forced eviction
Date 28 February 2015
Region MENA
Country Syria
City Kobani

Affected persons (number & composition)

Total 150000
Men 0
Women 0
Children 0
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Brief narrative

Syria: Massive destruction in Syria’s Kobani after Kurds drive out Islamic State


KOBANI, Syrian Kurdistan,— Pulverised buildings, heavily armed fighters roaming otherwise deserted rubble-strewn streets: the ferocious battle for Kobani has left the Kurdish border town in Syrian Kurdistan in ruins, according to a team of AFP journalists who arrived there Wednesday.

Kurdish forces recaptured the town on the Turkish frontier from the Islamic State group on Monday in a symbolic blow for the jihadists who have seized swathes of territory in their brutal onslaught across Syria and Iraq.

After more than four months of fighting, the streets — now patrolled by Kurdish militiamen with barely a civilian in sight — were a mass of rubble and gutted buildings, the journalists said.

Kurdish fighters armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles greeted the journalists with a hail of celebratory gunshots into the air and made the “V” for victory sign.

In one street, a mortar shell lay on the pockmarked tarmac. In another, a bright yellow car was left abandoned in the rubble, riddled with bullet holes, as a couple of men walked by to inspect the damage.

On Tuesday, Kurdish forces battled IS militants in villages around Kobane, warning that the fight against the jihadists was far from over.

The recapture of Kobane appeared however to be a major step in the campaign against the IS militants who had seemed poised to seize the town after they began their advance in September.

Half the town destroyed

But analysts said air strikes by the US-led coalition had been key to the YPG’s success, taking out some of the jihadists’ heavier weaponry and hitting their supply routes.

A minister in the regional Kobane government said Tuesday that at least half of the town had been destroyed.

The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) had announced the “liberation” of Kobane on Monday, depriving the IS group of a prize to add to its territory in Syria and Iraq.

“Our forces fulfilled the promise of victory,” the militia said, but cautioned that fighting was not over yet.

 The United States had said on Tuesday that Kurdish fighters were in control of about 90 percent of the town.

“ISIL is now, whether on order or whether they are breaking ranks, beginning to withdraw from the town,” a senior State Department official told reporters.

But he warned that the militants, also known as ISIL, were “adaptive and resilient” and no-one was declaring “mission accomplished” yet.

Mass exodus

Observers say IS lost nearly 1,200 fighters in the battle, of a total of 1,800 killed, despite outgunning YPG forces with sophisticated weaponry captured from Iraqi and Syrian military bases.

The combat also sparked a mass exodus of local residents, with some 200,000 fleeing across the border into Turkey.

Thousands of Kurds flocked to the Turkish border after the IS defeat, but Turkish security forces on Tuesday fired tear gas and water cannon to push back people approaching the barbed wire fence.

The border remained closed on Wednesday.

“We won’t let any refugees cross until further notice,” an official from Turkey’s disaster management agency AFAD told AFP.

Turkish authorities were working on Wednesday to move hundreds of refugees from Kobane to a new camp in the southeastern border town of Suruc which is able to accommodate up to 35,000 people.

It is the biggest-ever refugee camp opened by Turkey, which has taken in 1.7 million Syrian refugees since the Syrian conflict erupted in 2011 as a popular uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.

Idris Nassan, deputy foreign minister for the Kobane regional government, said Tuesday the authorities were urging people not to return to their homes yet.

“There is massive destruction. At least 50 percent of the city is destroyed,” he said.

“We are asking them to wait and not come immediately because we don’t have basic necessities for them. There is no food, no medicine. We don’t have electricity or water.”

The US official said that many foreign fighters — including Australians, Belgians, Canadians and Chechens — were among the dead jihadists, but declined to give exact figures other than to say “it was hugely, hugely significant.”

With the eyes of the international media watching, the jihadists “wanted to raise the largest flag they ever made over Kobane,” the official said.

“Kobane shows that you’re not going to be part of something great’… so the whole narrative that ISIL is trying to put out, Kobane really puts a dent in it.”

Original article

’Kobani 80% destroyed in battle with Isis’ says Kurdish leader

Approximately 80% of Kobani has been destroyed after months of brutal combat between Islamic State (Isis) militants and Kurdish forces supported by coalition air strikes, said the head of the Kobani canton.

Isis on Friday conceded defeat in their battle to take the strategically vital city in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in northern Syria.

Anwar Muslim, head of the Kobani Canton, told Bas News that as a result of the brutal five-month struggle nearly the entire city lay in ruins, and said that an enormous reconstruction job lay ahead.

"After engineering teams clear the city of bombs by planted Isis, the residents of Kobani can return. But before that, we also need to remove all the dead bodies left under wrecked buildings.

"As a first step, younger people will be allowed to return to Kobani in order to attend to their businesses and their duties in the army and governmental offices. They will be needed to rebuild the city, provide services to pave the road for other residents to return home."

He called on the international community to help the residents of the city as they rebuilt the town and their lives.

"This city has defended humanity against the cruellest terrorist organization in the world," Muslim Said.

He continued, "We need to provide humanitarian aid and facilities for the residents of Kobani. They suffered starvation and displacement for a long time, so we must help them to return home."

In a video released on Friday, Isis declared that Western air strikes had forced them to withdraw from their positions in Kobani, but vowed to return to retake the town.

"A while ago we retreated a bit from Ayn al-Islam because of the bombardment and the killing of some brothers," said one masked fighter, using the group’s preferred name for Kobani, reports Haaretz.

They claimed that airstrikes deliberately targeted buildings to leave them with no cover.

Isis seemed poised to take Kobani, until coalition airstrikes which began in September helped to push the jihadist group back.

Original article

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