Report about Kobanî City on June 25, 2015:
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Kobanî (Ayn Al Arab) is part of Aleppo province. It is located on the Syrian-Turkish border, east of Euphrates valley, around 157km north east of Aleppo City and around 40km east of Jarabulus.
In the morning of 25/06/15 a group of ISIS militias managed to infiltrate the city of Kobanî through a security breach wearing Kurdish Security Forces’ dresses. Also some of the terrorists spoke some Kurdish making it hard to identify them. The first attack was a car bombing at the main crossing gate between Turkey and Kobanî („Murshid Pinar“) gate at 05:09 a.m.
The explosion made many people run out of their homes. On their way to the scene of the explosion people were then attacked by ISIS snipers spread over the roofs of the neighborhood. At the same time several other bombs exploded in several neighborhoods including Maktala and Kanya Kurda, 48th Street, on the path of the Martyr Moro Aleppo (customs area) and several neighborhoods downtown.
At the same time other ISIS militias began attacking civilian homes in other neighborhoods and villages where they slaughtered and killed civilians in their homes as they were sleeping (check the video link showing one of the families whose members being in their house at the time were all killed (.
Also ISIS militias gathered in a school building (Benin secondary school) probably used as hospital by members of „Doctors Without Borders“, as this hospital is located in the city center in the West End, an area which is characterized by its high location. ISIS members used this high position to attack other civilians.
Snipers spread on the roofs of buildings prevented other civilians to move out of their homes, while at the same time small groups of ISIS members tried to complete the massacres against unarmed civilians who had stayed in their houses. The situation did not change until the arrival of military support (Joint Forces) to the city in the afternoon, while in the meantime ISIS militias committed further massacres against civilians arrested many more civilians as human shields in the battles again the Joint Forces.
The entry of Joint Forces to the city made a number of civilians leave their houses and flee to the outskirts of the city and to the shelters on the border, still Turkish government would not allow them to cross the border to enter Turkey (only a little number of wounded were allowed to be transferred to Turkish hospitals), thereby forcing those civilians (children, women, elders) to stay on the border suffering from the lack of water and food for 37 hours.
As a result of the emergency situation in the city and the battles, local humanitarian organizations were unable to make any documentation or counting of the number of civilian casualties. The figures indicated in undocumented estimates reach a number of 500 civilians being killed in several ways (slaughter, hunting, sniper targeting). After the Joint Forces controlled the main points of ISIS, the process of burying the killed civilians began on 26/06/15 in those areas being suitable for cemeteries. There now lies the history of about 115 people.
Battles between ISIS and Joint Forces continued until 27/06/15 when Joint Forced retrieved control over the city and started to evacuate the homes of the victims and bury them with the help of civilians, while still a number of ISIS-militias were hiding in destroyed houses in the city. Two cases have been documented within 28/-29/06/15.
Throughout the battles UKSSD Documentation Team members, alongside with other local organizations, managed to document civilian casualties for 68 hours:
|Males: 210 (children, Youth, Men, Senate)||Female: 79 (children, girls, women)|
|24 families, with different but undefined numbers of casualties||The number of wounded civilians is 235 according to the information from the Kobani local council.|
You will find the exact names and numbers of civilian victims in the PDF attached.
It is worth mentioning that in the recent period Kobani city was receiving a large number of refugees from areas like Tel-Abyad, Al-Raqqa and Ain Issa, most of them fleeing from the fights between ISIS and Joined Forces. This is yet another reason for the increase of the number of civilians in the city of which now many were also victims of these battles.
UKSSD team has the names of 289 civilian victims. In addition to that, UKSSD has information about 24 families of which all members were killed. Sadly, there is no further information such as names etc. about these people.
Stories from civilian people in kobanê:
M.Sh. talking from Al-Masref Neighborhood in Kobanê:
Early in the morning on the 25th of June, I woke up by hearing voices on the street. I went out on the porch and saw several people wearing YPG uniforms and carrying weapons; since I was surprised to see them I decided to ask them: “What is happening, friends?”.
Just before I started talking to them, I saw them shooting a neighbor’s son who was walking towards them from the west. In that moment I realized these men were not YPG and I ran back into the house while I heard them screaming “Where is Esmat’s house?” When the voices grew louder, I took my children and hid in the shed taking a stepladder with us to be able to descend again. We heard explosions and shootings and people screamed that ISIS was entering the city. We stayed in the shed until 2 pm when the screaming on the street faded away and I heard youths call on others (“Haval”, the Kurdish word for friend). Then, I finally could relax somewhat and I came out of the shed to ensure those youths were really from YPG and not the people I saw in the morning.
I looked out cautiously from the balcony and I saw one person I knew so I was sure they were from YPG; I shouted that my family and I were still there and that we could not escape. They told me not to leave the house until they came back to drive us to a safer place. After about an hour, a group of people came and helped us to get out of the house; we went to the outskirts of the city where it was less dangerous.
A.M. talking from the Mektala Neighborhood in Kobanê:
On the morning of the 25th of June, my father and I woke up at 4 am, as we always do, to go to work and deliver vegetables for the shop we work for. I had a cup of tea and told my father that I would get the motor ready so that we could leave when he was ready. I went out on the street while I was waiting for my father and I saw some people carrying weapons and wearing YPG uniforms talking to one of the neighbors. I greeted them from afar while I wondered why they were here at such an early hour. A few seconds later I saw them shooting my neighbor whom they were talking with and then they pointed their guns at me. Our front door was still open so I ran back inside closing the door and fetched the weapon which we had bought earlier to protect ourselves. I heard them in front of our house saying, “the owner of the motor entered here”. I fired some shots at the door and in the air. I heard them saying “He is armed, let’s leave him and move on from here”. My father and I stayed hidden in the rooms until noon when we still heard voices outside. Around 1 pm, the voices calmed down and my father and I carefully went out to see what was happening.
Then I realized that they killed my neighbor whom they were talking to. We ran to my uncle’s house to check on them. I noticed that their front door was open; I entered and saw my uncle and 11 of his family members were killed inside their house. After an hour, a group of YPG arrived and drove my family out of the neighborhood into the outskirts of the city.
(H.K) and (E.O) family:
(E.O) Recounts: Mercenaries of ISIS attacked the city of Kobanê on the 25th of June; they targeted my family as well as the neighbors. The neighbors had previously fled from the city of Raqqa to escape the brutality of ISIS. The neighbors woke us up that morning and warned us of the mercenaries. However, while we were struggling to survive for over 14 hours, the family that had warned us was killed by ISIS mercenaries.
We had been neighbors for almost three years, as (H.K)’s family had fled the city of Raqqa in 2013 to escape from ISIS and had moved to the city of Kobanê; However, they never lived without fear of the mercenaries of ISIS.
During the ISIS attack on the city from 3 different directions, gunfire resounded through the entire city; all people rushed out of their house to see what was happening in the city. Both my family and our neighbors as well as the other neighbors went out to the front gate to see what was happening. Both my wife and I thought, like many others, that we heard gunfire in celebration of the liberation of Sireen from ISIS. My wife, (Am) stepped outside the gate and was appalled when she saw people entering houses and shooting people. At that moment, our son Farzat, an YPG fighter, first came to her mind while she exclaimed “ O Farzat, I will sacrifice myself for you” and her eyes filled up with tears.
(H.K)’s wife (As) knew the brutality of ISIS mercenaries all too well since they had been the reason they previously fled Raqqa. I heard her saying to my wife: “Do not cry, protect your children”, (Am) acted on this warning and reentered the house.
ISIS mercenaries tried to break into the house, so I quickly ran to close the front door and carried my weapon with me. They were at the front of the door, my children and I at that time still did not know whether they were actually ISIS mercenaries or not, trying to kick in the door and get into the house while they were shouting in Arabic: “Get out, o infidels”. Then we all realized that the people outside who were shooting people were from ISIS.
Our neighbor’s wife who warned my wife did not survive the brutal ISIS attack.
Despite all their effort, the ISIS mercenaries were not able to kick in our door, so they went to the house of (H.K) and started shooting at the door and throwing stones at it and managed to kick the door in. As soon as they entered the house, they took (H.K) and his wife out on the street and opened fire on them. Their eldest son (W), when he saw his parents killed in front of his eyes, ran onto the street in tears and threw himself on their bodies. The mercenaries, having no regard for humanity, shot and killed him too.
After the mercenaries had killed the father, mother and their son they reentered their house and opened fire on the boys (A, Id and S). My family and I saw (W) and his parents covered in blood on the street, but we did not know what happened to their other family members.
The mercenaries then returned to our house:
After the mercenaries of ISIS finished their massacre at the neighbor’s house they came back to our house. My family consists of 11 persons, my wife and I, our 3 girls, my son and his wife and their 3 children; we all live in the same house. We moved from the ground floor to the second floor and peeked through the windows that crashed during the resistance battle to see what was happening outside.
My son and I were carrying arms to protect our family from the mercenaries and collected our previously saved reserve ammunition; my son’s wife was assisting us and started loading the weapons while my wife, Amina panicked because she was afraid that the ISIS mercenaries could enter the house somehow. The ISIS mercenaries that killed our neighbors in front of our eyes fired gas bombs at our house causing two of my daughters to lose consciousness for a period of time. In the meantime, we tried using the telephone to hear more about the attack and to find out who lost their lives and who remained alive.
The hours between life and death:
We felt like prisoners in our own house and each of us thought on how to prevent falling into the hands of the ISIS mercenaries. The girls woke up and were carrying hand bombs, motivated by the dreadful scene of the murdered neighbors in the street drenched in their own blood which reminded them of the Sengal women who were kidnapped and sold, we decided at that time to let those bombs explode if the mercenaries were to enter the house; afterwards I decided to in that case kill my wife and daughters to save them from the unknown fate when they would fall into the hands of those mercenaries. As time passed, our hope at survival began to dwindle and let our thoughts carry us away recalling memories of the past.
(Am) recounts: The memory of the killing of our neighbors was haunting my imagination and I remembered that my neighbor’s wife (As) after fleeing the injustice of ISIS in Raqqa in 2013, was always afraid of ISIS mercenaries entering her home and slaughtering her family. While we were sitting together and talking As would always ask me: “Did we really get rid of the mercenaries, they will not come near us again, right?”
A new hope of surviving revived:
(E.O) resumes speaking: My family and I resisted ISIS from inside the house for about 14 hours while the mercenaries were hovering around it. We were all going through a very difficult time, hours seemed like years and the house felt like a terrible prison and we almost lost hope of survival. However, in the afternoon, the fighters of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) were able to communicate with us over the phone and after I had given them the relevant information, the fighters managed to dig a tunnel under the walls of the house and entered. When we saw the YPG fighters we breathed a sigh of relief and felt as if we were reborn; later, the YPG fighters transferred my family members to a safe place.
The rescue of a child from (H.K)’s family:
After the ISIS mercenaries had been forced back or killed and has disappeared from the street, family members of the martyred families collected their bodies. When they entered into the house of (H.K) they found two sons of him who had died and the other (S) who was wounded but still alive. (S) Was taken to hospital and afterwards he was handed over to his relatives who work in Turkey.
You will find the exact names and numbers of civilian victims in the PDF attached.
UKSSD e. V
Central Media Office