Farewell Syria – Assignment for Morgenbladet / by Eivind H. Natvig

Iraq is home to more than 240.000 syrian refugees, most of them located in the northern Kurdish part of the country. During an assignment for the norwegian weekly Morgenbladet, we met a small percentage of these people. Traumatized by three years of uncertainty and often months on the run before first entering Kandala transit camp en route to larger, more permanent camps or a struggle for a self sufficient life in an strange country. Kurdistan is a peaceful place surrounded by incredible violence and threat to human rights and human lives. They carry as much of their belongings as they can, and more stories of fear and death than any single person should.

It’s just 15 minutes to the border. Terrorist Group ISIS is not far away. Al – Qaeda is not far away. Assad forces are not far away. The rebel group FSA is not far away. Amidst the chaos of the civil war, regular people are forced between a rock and a hard place.

During the very first month the syrian uprising had a goal, according to the refugees. But then they were forced to make an impossible choice. If you participated in the protests, the Assad forces would kill them. If you did not you risked execution from the insurgents. They are tired now. Exhausted after years of uncertainty and fear. 25 people stowed together in a one of the large tents of Kandala transit camp. Here they will register and move on to such tent cities as Domiz; a place of 45000 inhabitants. The 900 who arrived the day we were there is just a drop in the ocean of Syrian refugees; 224,000 in northern Iraq and 2,513,541 registered Syrian refugees in total. Not counting the 6,5 million who are on the run inside Syria.