SYRIZA MP Nantia Valavani in a mission at Kobani
Turkish-Syrian borders, a night of 28th October at the "dead zone" outside a village close to Suruc, three kilometers from the "free-besieged" Kobani. The absolute darkness in the night is broken only by small fires on the dusty desert. Around of each one there is a small group of people sitting on cement tiles: My mind goes to Rembrandt's "The Night Watch", which depicts some higher officers guarding the Queen. Here, however, the national guard, nearly 500 people every night, is consisted by the civilians of this area and others who came from far and left their jobs to guard every day from five in the afternoon when the night falls until five in the morning with the first light.
They "guard" not queens, but 2000 young fighters on the other side: They observe and monitor with cameras everything alongside the three most crucial kilometers at the Syrian borders - they monitor enemy movements, but they have also a preventive role. At the same time, their fires can be seen from Kobani: The fighters wait to see them when the darkness falls - so that they know that they are not forgotten, that they are not alone during their wakefulness while surrounded, that someone is on the other side to "guard" them.
In the same village, always in the dark, inside a poor house as everything else: Two rooms with blankets on the gravel floor. One room is used by men to sleep, the other by women and many children, 19 people in total. A family from Kobani is hosted by another one, as it happens with thousands of houses throughout the area. They introduce us to the father and mother of the family they host: Their son was killed 40 days ago, that is, the first and second day of the Jihadist attack on Kobani. These refugees, however, they learn it just four days ago. We say hello to the father with the hand on our heart. The mother, with rough characteristics, speaks to us with a wild proudness and dignity while small kids "hang" on her dress. She expects ISIS to be eliminated and take her family back to Kobani, set a scene upon the ruins and restart their lives in the town.
Outside the house we hear the first aerial bombardment: First the explosions, at the end, the sound of planes - stealth? People sitting around fires drink tea from handmade samovars to warm up. Everyone offers us tea. Inside the darkness, those fires that do not speak, they sing. A young lady, lawyer from the town, asks us with anxiety if we can help the defenders to find the thing they need most: heavy weaponry. Despite the discussion and our commitment that we'll do everything we can to gather food, medicine and winter clothing, she seems to be disappointed with us.
Early in the morning of October 29, everyone learned the news about Rehana, the young woman who became known all over the world by foreign journalists, as they said that she killed 100 Jihadists: She was captured in the night by ISIS and beheaded.
They explained to us from the start that there is no chance for foreign representatives to cross the town to the other side. The latest days, ISIS attacks aim to capture the only "open" side close to the borders, "sealing" Kobani. ISIS is shelling frequently the town from the hills around and therefore they cannot guarantee our safety. However, when we were leaving the area the next night, a quite known Greek reporter called us through the crowd around our car, people who were waiting for Peshmerga to arrive. He assured us loudly that he will enter Kobani. I have a sense that he will manage to do it.
That noon we met on the hill, one kilometer from the town, where one can watch the buildings with the naked eye. I watched with the binoculars: It was like I was there. In Athens, two days later, I read in a foreign website that what we saw on 29th October, the explosions and the clouds of black and white smoke captured by the camera of the reporter Michalis Karagiannis, was the shelling of the north side of Suruc: ISIS was trying to prevent the passage of Peshmerga who were about to arrive.
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