News / USA

    Syrian Families Suffer Enduring Loss From War, IS Rampages

    Nayla Mohammed was sitting in her suburban Washington apartment last year when she learned a group of Islamic State militants went on a killing rampage in her hometown of Kobani, in northern Syria.
    Nayla Mohammed was sitting in her suburban Washington apartment last year when she learned a group of Islamic State militants went on a killing rampage in her hometown of Kobani, in northern Syria.

    Nayla Mohammed was sitting in her suburban Washington apartment last year when she learned that a group of Islamic State (IS) militants went on a killing rampage in her hometown of Kobani in northern Syria.

    “I read on Facebook that a group of Daesh (IS) had entered Kobani, killing civilians,” said Mohammed, who came to America from Lebanon five years ago.

    “I called my sister right away to check if they were okay, but there was no answer,” she told VOA. “So I called my other sister who lives in Turkey as a refugee. She told me that my family had been slaughtered.”

    Mohammed lost nine members of her family in the IS attack in June 2015. She said she knew at least 50 others who were killed in her family’s neighborhood.
    Some of the victims were murdered with knives, but, Mohammed, 36, said her family members were killed by gunfire as IS gunmen entered their house.

    Nayla Mohammed of suburban Washington, D.C., lost nine members of her family in an Islamic State attack on Kobani in June 2015.
    Nayla Mohammed of suburban Washington, D.C., lost nine members of her family in an Islamic State attack on Kobani in June 2015.





    Details of the IS rampage have been verified by human rights groups and Kurdish officials.

    “My sister and her children were all hit in the head,” said Mohammed. “They had no chance to survive.”

    Tragic loss, mourning

    As Syria’s civil war rages on, and the battle against IS continues in the Middle East, thousands of families across the world are grappling with the deaths of loved ones at the hands of IS militants.

    The story of Mohammed’s family typifies a wide suffering, according to human rights groups.

    Kobani, Syria
    Kobani, Syria



    A lack of psychiatric assistance leaves Syrians suffering in silence, according to post-war trauma experts.

    “It is [a] lifelong trauma,” said Zaher Sahloul, a physician with the Syrian American Medical Society, a U.S.-based group that assists Syrian refugees.
    “Patients may continue to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder for the rest of their lives,” he told VOA.

    Kobani was a battlefront between Islamic State fighters and Kurdish forces for months in 2014.

    With the help of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, Kurdish forces retook the city from IS in January 2015. However, IS militants continued to launch attacks on the outskirts of the border town.

    IS massacre

    In June 2015, a group of IS fighters infiltrated the city. They killed at least 174 Kurdish civilians, according to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights.

    Despite being liberated from IS, many residents of Kobani who have been living in refugee camps in Turkey are afraid of returning home. There is no guarantee that IS will not carry out attacks similar to that against Mohammed’s family, they said.

    Like most Kobani residents, Mohammed’s family fled to Turkey when IS first attacked Kobani in September 2014. They went back a few months later when the fight was over, and they were told by Kurdish officials that IS was no longer a threat.

    “I kept telling them not to go back, but they were convinced it would be safer for them,” Mohammed told VOA.

    Months later, Kobani citizens fear returning home despite the hardships of life in refugee camps outside Syria.

    “I would prefer to live in tents,” said Mustafa Ahmed, a 44-year-old Kobani resident who has been living in a Turkish refugee camp since October 2014.
    “I don’t want to get killed there with my children in the house,” he told VOA in a telephone interview.

    Devastated town

    Kurdish officials say IS has been weakened and the group cannot launch large-scale attacks on Kobani anymore.

    “Daesh is now 80 kilometers away from Kobani. It is extremely difficult for them to come near here,” Dijwar Kobani, a Kurdish YPG commander based in Kobani, told VOA.

    He told VOA that even though the local government does not get much assistance from the international community, it is trying hard to rebuild the city.
    Mohammed, however, believes the situation in Kobani will never be the same.

    “Entire families have been destroyed,” she said. “Nothing can compensate for my loss and the loss of thousands of other people in Kobani.”

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora