Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Life in Border Refugee Camps

By Kamaran Najm
  • Border areas in northern Iraq come under regular air and artillery attack from Turkey and Iran, who say they are fighting separatist Kurdish rebels.
    Border areas in northern Iraq come under regular air and artillery attack from Turkey and Iran, who say they are fighting separatist Kurdish rebels.
  • The rebels say they want more rights for Kurdish minorities in Turkey and Iran. The refugees in this area say they are shelled by both countries.
    The rebels say they want more rights for Kurdish minorities in Turkey and Iran. The refugees in this area say they are shelled by both countries.
  • Many of the refugees stay in shelters a short distance from their villages. They keep the keys to their homes close at hand.
    Many of the refugees stay in shelters a short distance from their villages. They keep the keys to their homes close at hand.
  • Families live in limbo, equipped with the essentials for survival but eager to return home.
    Families live in limbo, equipped with the essentials for survival but eager to return home.
  • Without tap water, communal meals are prepared using mountain streams near the camp.
    Without tap water, communal meals are prepared using mountain streams near the camp.
  • Not everyone has a tent. Some of the shelters are made using local materials.
    Not everyone has a tent. Some of the shelters are made using local materials.
  • This elderly man says he does not want aid - he just wants peace. "Our land is rich and we would look after ourselves, if only we could return home."
    This elderly man says he does not want aid - he just wants peace. "Our land is rich and we would look after ourselves, if only we could return home."
  • The villagers see themselves as victims of a battle between powers beyond their control.
    The villagers see themselves as victims of a battle between powers beyond their control.
  • The remnants of an exploded rocket lie on the roadside - a reminder of the threat the villagers have fled.
    The remnants of an exploded rocket lie on the roadside - a reminder of the threat the villagers have fled.
  • The camp is full of children, occupying themselves with improvised toys and games.
    The camp is full of children, occupying themselves with improvised toys and games.
  • Easing the deadlock in a complicated conflict could eventually give the camp's children a brighter future.
    Easing the deadlock in a complicated conflict could eventually give the camp's children a brighter future.

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