PHOTO STORY: Refugees in Kobane, Syria

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PHOTO ESSAY: Refugees in Kobane, Syria

Giannis Papanikos shows photos of the refugees at the border between Turkey and Syria.

In September, Islamic State (IS) attacked Kobane, on the Syrian border and the villages around it. They wanted to control the city, a very important place in the war.

More than 200,000 Kurdish people in and around Kobane had to leave their country, to escape IS, and go toTurkey. Many went to Suruc on the Turkish border. They are trying to find a new life in refugee camps and around the town.

Every day, they spend many hours in the refugee camps, watching the Allied air strikes in Kobane. Also, they see the funerals of fighters from the Kurdish YPG - their bodies are brought from the fighting to be buried in Suruc.

Not many people knew Kobane before. Now, Kobane will be a symbol of freedom or a symbol of human greed.


Giannis Papanikos

Children of Kurdish refugees play with a plastic gun in an empty gas station in the centre of Suruc. This Kurdish family, with four children, cannot find a tent in a refugee camp, like many other familes. Since the beginning of October, all the family have been living in the gas station.


Giannis Papanikos

The Turkish Army inspect the Kurdish refugees. And they watching the Allied air strikes in Kobane. Many Kurdish refugees walk seven kilometres from Suruc to the Turkish-Syrian border to watch the Allied bombings.


Giannis Papanikos

Kurdish refugee children at the funeral of YPG fighters killed in Kobane fighting IS forces. Many of the Kurdish fighters who die in Kobane are taken for burial to Suruc, because their relatives are living there now.

Giannis Papanikos

A Kurdish family sleep in a tent in the afternoon, in a refugee camp in Suruc. Sometimes, more than one family lives in the same tent.

Giannis Papanikos

A Kurdish refugee reads the news about Kobane on a hill overlooking the city, during the Allied air strikes. Kurdish refugees come every day to two hills near the Turkish-Syrian border, about two kilometres from Kobane.

Giannis Papanikos

Kurdish refugee children walking in the afternoon in one of the biggest refugee camps in Suruc. NGOs and charities pay for most of the health and food needs of the refugees. More than 200,000 Kurds have entered Turkey since the start of the siege of Kobane.

Giannis Papanikos

Kurdish refugee children swing from an electricity pylon outside a refugee camp in Suruc.

Giannis Papanikos

Kurdish women at a funeral of Kurdish YPG fighters. They died fighting IS militants in Kobane. No-one could find the families of the YPG fighters buried at this funeral, so they couldn’t go to the funeral.

Giannis Papanikos is a freelance photojournalist in Greece.