Today, the administration of Kobane issued this appeal to the international community calling for humanitarian aid, medical assistance and help securing power, food and water supplies for the city.

Appeal from the cantonal government of Kobanê to the United Nations and the international community

2 December 2014

The attacks of the Islamic State on Kobanê, a Kurdish town in northern Syria, have been ongoing since the 15th of September 2014. As a result of the war, large parts of the city and the surrounding villages have been destroyed and devastated. The humanitarian emergency is exacerbated due to the de facto existing embargo. Since all routes to Kobanê are blocked, it is not possible for humanitarian supplies to reach the city. Due to the plight of refugees from Kobanê located in Turkey, more and more people are returning to Kobanê. The municipality of Kobanê is run by volunteers.  

The biggest problem is the lack of clean drinking water. After the start of the popular uprising in Syria, the water supply line to Kobanê, which is being centrally controlled by the state, has been discontinued. The population in Kobanê thereof has built an alternative water line to Kobanê. As a result of the attacks conducted by the terrorist militia called Islamic State, this self-constructed water supply line has also been destroyed. Currently, the people from Kobanê obtain their water from the few existing wells. However, this does not involve potable water. It is therefore only used for cleaning and hygiene matters. Drinking water is currently only available in closed PET-bottles. Yet, the stocks are low and won’t be sufficient for much longer. Similarly, there is a lack of food, especially of wheat and flour with which at least the basic needs of sustenance could be met. The bread production site, which was managed by the city administration, has fallen under the control of the IS with all its flour stock.

Another problem is the power supply. Since power supplies too are directed by the central government, there has been a power cut for 2 years now. Until the attacks of the Islamic State, the population provided electricity via generators. However, IS has attacked and destroyed the fuel depot for the generators. The lack of fuel not only causes a problem for power supplies, but further constitutes a serious problem for the approaching winter season since the fuel was also used for oil furnace. Also, there is a lack of winter clothing, especially with jackets and shoes. When people fled their villages, they had to leave all their belongings behind.

Further, medical care proves to be a serious problem. The existing three hospitals were all destroyed. Currently, an abandoned house functions as a temporary location for patient care and is managed only by a volunteer doctor. However, due to the lack of medicine it is not possible to treat many diseases. Although some medical equipment is available, they cannot be used in important operations since the power supply, which is required for these devices, is non-existent. Not only were many people injured as a result of the attacks by the inhumane terrorist militia and many continue to be violently targeted, the rotting corpses and the bombing provide an acute risk of epidemics. Due to the constantly ongoing attacks of the IS and the lack of technical material, it is not possible to remove the corpses.

We estimate that the people of Kobanê can only survive another moth with the existing stock of food, water and heating oil. However, the influx of people from Turkey returning to Kobanê makes it difficult to give a detailed prognosis. Yet above all, the drinking water supply poses a huge problem.

Therefore, we aim to appeal to the international public and community with this letter.

We demand:

  • The establishment of a corridor for humanitarian aid under the control of the UN
  • International delegation of experts to examine the situation in Kobanê
  • Securing drinking water and food supply.
  • Sending international teams of doctors for medical care          
  • Technical equipment for the reconstruction of the city