Monday’s Four Corners is The Miracle of Kobani, by documentary Israeli filmmaker Itai Anghel, who meets Syrian people rebuilding their lives after being pummelled by ISIS.
“We’re the mothers of those who were kidnapped and of the fallen heroes. We’re not afraid of ISIS anymore.” Kobani mother
On the shattered streets of this Syrian border town, almost wiped off the map by ISIS, something extraordinary is happening.
“You see this door behind me, the one people exit to go to Europe? I just came back from there, to Kobani. I feel like this is the most wonderful day of my life!” Returning Kobani refugee
Streams of people, young and old, are flowing back to the town they fled when it was first besieged, then occupied by murderous ISIS forces.
“You won’t find a single family who was left untouched here. My 25 year old son was killed here in the battle against ISIS. There was this old Muslim man who stayed behind because he didn’t want to leave his home. They beheaded him to instil fear in all the rest.” Kobani father
The battle to rescue the once obscure town of Kobani became a defining moment in the Syrian conflict and made headlines around the world. The eventual retreat and defeat of ISIS by Kurdish fighters, with the assistance of American airstrikes, showed that ISIS could be beaten.
“That’s the leg of an ISIS fighter. They came to Kobani and thought they’d finish us off, but this is how they ended up.” Kobani resident
Israeli film-maker Itai Anghel journeys to Kobani to meet the people rebuilding their lives in the rubble.
“For the first time, after six months of fighting, the people here can step outside without fear, walk slowly and think. They can think about those they lost here. There’s no end to the pictures of the dead which cover all of Kobani.” Itai Anghel, reporter
He finds many who, despite the monumental destruction around them, are determined to stay.
“I think this place is much better than Europe. Much better! I prefer to stay here in my home with my wheelchair.” Kobani resident
In the ruins of a bombed out house, he finds a Kobani local, Abdullah Kurdi, who spends his days visiting the graves of his wife and two boys. One of those boys was three year old Alan Kurdi. The image of his lifeless body washed up on a beach stopped the western world in its tracks and paved the way for Europe to take in huge numbers of Syrian refugees. Abdullah recounts the family’s ill-fated attempt to reach Europe.
“They died in my arms. We were all together. We were all huddled together.”Abdullah Kurdi
Despite the immense suffering of the people of Kobani, their story is also one of hope.
“For us, living in the ruins of our home is better than living in Europe. Now we have to rebuild. We have to rebuild and restore life to our home. If we leave our land, no one will do this for us.” Kobani woman
Monday 13th June at 8.30pm on ABC.