Syrians slowly return to Kobani after Kurds win back border town

By REUTERS
February 23, 2015 16:25

 
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ISTANBUL - Around 4,000 refugees have trickled back to the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani but many are wary of returning to the site of a four-month battle between Kurdish and Islamic State forces, officials said on Monday.

Much of the town of over 200,000 was destroyed by the fighting, in which the Kurds held off militant Islamists trying to overrun the border area, and potential returnees are worried by the many unexploded bombs and mortars there, they said.

"Turkey keeps track of exits as well as entries. And the latest figure shows around 4,000 people have gone back to Kobani," a spokesman for Turkey's disaster management agency AFAD told Reuters.

Kobani official Idris Nasan said 15 people had died and many have been injured in accidents involving live explosives since the siege of the city was lifted last month.

"It's not safe for them. But they were looking forward to coming back," he said, calling on the international community to help clear Kobani of explosives.

Almost the entire population of the town fled across the border to Turkey last year to escape Islamic State's advance.

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