A refugee camp of shattered lives as Kurds flee to Iraq

‘All the countries betrayed us...How could they leave us? We are like the sheep without a shepherd. They fed us to the wolves’

Gulistan Hawas Saado  with her son Ahmad. “In history nobody has ever been a friend to the Kurdish people.” Photograph: Lorraine Mallinder

Gulistan Hawas Saado with her son Ahmad. “In history nobody has ever been a friend to the Kurdish people.” Photograph: Lorraine Mallinder

Gulistan Hawas Saado is sitting on the concrete bricks outside her tent, cradling her sleeping son. She arrived in Iraq’s Kurdistan region last Thursday after a perilous journey with her husband and five children from the town of Al-Darbasiyah in northeast Syria.

It cost $1,000, all their life savings, to flee the Syrian war’s new frontline on the border with Turkey. Dependent on what she describes as a “spider’s web” of drivers and smugglers, they had pushed blindly through the confusion of an eight-year civil war that has recently taken yet another deadly turn.

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