Syrian refugees return in Tal Abyad after IS defeat

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, June 18, 2015
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Syrian refugees in Turkey have begun returning to their homes in Tal Abyad after Kurdish forces seized the border town in a major blow to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Some 200 men, women and children carrying their meagre possessions crossed back into Syria through the Turkish border post of Akçakale, a day after Kurdish fighters backed by Syrian rebels took

Tal Abyad.

The fight for the town prompted some 23,000 people to flee into Turkey, but on June 17 the first returnees said they were eager to get back home.

“I’m returning, I left my husband there. But I’m still very afraid of the bombs, how would someone not be afraid of bombs?” said Fahriye, a 40-year-old housewife. “I’m also afraid of ISIL coming back. I’ll go and decide with my family whether we’ll stay or not.”

Mahmud, a farmer, said he too was eager to return home ahead of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which begins on June 18 in Syria.

“It’s not so good here… It’s not like home,” he told Agence France-Presse. “We want to spend our holy Ramadan in our homeland. We have been looking forward to it.”

Fighters from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Women’s Defense Units (YPJ) and Syrian rebel forces declared full control over Tal Abyad on June 16, less than a week after they began an advance on the jihadist-held town.

Analysts said their capture of Tal Abyad, aided by U.S.-led air strikes, was the most significant defeat for ISIL in Syria so far.

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