Photo Essay: Rebuilding Kobani

Artillery and discarded missiles rust in the streets of Kobani. Hulking, half-destroyed apartment blocks stand as they were almost three years ago when Kurdish forces successfully drove back the Islamic State.

In September 2014, IS fighters lay siege to Kobani city and nearby villages in Kurdish-majority northern Aleppo province. A bloody, six-month battle ensued.

IS fighters captured large sections of Kobani despite resistance by Kurdish fighters backed by US airstrikes. Ground fighting, shelling and airstrikes destroyed entire neighborhoods.

Kurdish forces prevailed in Kobani in spring 2015, but the battle left hundreds of civilians and fighters dead. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of people fled or lost their homes. The vast majority of the city was destroyed.

Three years since the siege ended, Kobani residents are slowly rebuilding what they lost and returning to their lives.

Over the past week, Syria Direct’s Dayna Eyob photographed some of the lingering destruction in the heart of her hometown. There, she spoke with a shopkeeper who stayed in Kobani throughout the battle and is now rebuilding his home and livelihood.

This photo essay is part of Syria Direct's month-long coverage of northern, Kurdish-held Syria in partnership with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and reporters on the ground in Syria. Read our primer here.

Maria Nelson

Maria Nelson was a 2014-2015 fellow at the Center for Arabic Study Abroad program (CASA I) in Amman, Jordan. She holds a BA in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University, with a certificate in Arabic Language and Culture.