FARC guerrilla camp, Colombian jungle

Bosnia without horizon

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Following the signing of the peace agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC, on 26 September, in Cartagena (Colombia), and the agreement’s (expected) endorsement by the Colombian people in the referendum to be held this Sunday, 2 October, the guerrilla fighters will abandon their camps and begin the process of demobilising and disarming. The ceasefire of recent months has given breathing space to the 35 members of the central unit of the Magdalena Media Bloc in the jungle in Antioquia, central Colombia, a unit that, until not so long ago, spent its life fleeing bombardment.

 

Location:        Jungle of middle Colombia

Date:               26-28th August 2016

Equipment:   Canon 7D-Mark II, Lens Canon 18x55mm

Kobane refugees, Syrian border

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Around 200.000 people, mostly kurds, flow from Syria to Turkey because of the ISIS attacks in Rojava (north Syria). Suruç, a Turkish city near the border with Kobane, triplicate its population, of 20.000. In the refugee camps there is a lack of sanitation, food and medicine. The local authorities and organisations make efforts to give to the Kurdish syrian an opportunity to restablish their lifes. The humanitarian aid is mostly financed by the PKK -Party of the Workers of Kurdistan- and coordinated by the BDP -Kurd Party for Democracy and Peace. Dozens of kurds and turkish volunteers arrived from all over Turkey to help on the camps. The families see how their houses are being destroyed. Suruç is the symbol of the Kurdish resistance.

 

Location:        Suruç, Turkey (border with Kobane, Syria)

Date:               18-22th October 2014

Equipment:     Canon 400D, Lens Canon 18x55mm

ELN guerrilla on war

In the ranks of the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional, or ELN), Colombia’s principal guerrilla group since the demobilisation of the FARC, peace is just an illusion. The temporary cease in hostilities, a truce that lasted 101 days – from 1 October 2017 to 9 January 2018 – had no real effect. In response to ten attacks by the ELN since the beginning of 2018 the Colombian government has suspended the dialogue that began a year ago and resumed military action with bombardments. Members of the ELN’s Omar Gómez Western Front, in the Chocó department on the Pacific coast, never abandoned arms, as Equal Times discovered.

Location:        Chocó, Colombian jungle

Date:              November 2018

Equipment:    Canon 7D Mark II

Kumanovo, albanian-kosovar attacks

Sporadic gunfire could be heard in an ethnic Albanian suburb of northern Macedonia on 9th May, after a day-long gun battle between police and an 'armed group' killed six policemen and wounded about 30. The Interior Ministry said a sixth policeman had died overnight in hospital. It said an unspecified number of gunmen were killed but gave no information on civilian casualties during the clashes that began in the town of Kumanovo, 40 km (25 miles) north of the capital Skopje, early on Saturday. The government proclaimed two days of national mourning.

 

Location:         Kumanovo, FYROM/Macedonia

Date:                16th May 2015

Equipment:      Canon 7D-Mark II, Lens Canon 18x55mm

Violence in Honduras

Honduras is one of the most violents countries around the world. Still the government says that homicides fall down 29% in the last fiv years, the 'maras', criminal bands, are changing the way to act and their illegal bussiness. The people still live on the terror. We follow a police patrol around one of the dangerous neighbourhoods in Tegucigalpa, visiting a reinsertion program for ex-pandilleros and interviewing some victims.

Location:        Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Date:              November 2018

Equipment:    Canon 7D Mark II

Bosnia, 16 years after war

18 years later, after the end of the Bosnian War, also considered as a Serbian genocide too, the country has not yet recovered and there still are not any recuperation signals. The Serbian ethnic (orthodoxies) and Croatian (catholics) get protection from their respective neighbours, but the Muslim majority still (bosniakos) lives without any rights and freedom. Bosnia is a forgotten territory, because of the UE’s silence and the international community’s disinterest. The power interchanges merely the different ethnics, leading to hatred and division in the Bosnian identity. Governments invest money only to promote religion and not for the improvement of the most required public services.

 

 

Location:             Sarajevo, Srebrenica, Mostar and Ravno, Bosnia & Herzegovina

                              Guča, Serbia

                              Dubrovnik, Croatia

Date:                     August 2011

Equipment:         Canon 400D, Lens Tamron 18x200mm

Edition:                Spooky Method

Kurdish refugees struggle to adapt to hard conditions in the camps in Suruç

 

AITOR SÁEZ / Suruç, October 2014

 

 

“Kobani, spelled with an i. Yes, that’s it. Write your Facebook down and I will add you as soon as I can. Do you have a pen?”

 

 

Mehmet (17) has been living for almost one month in the Suruç refugee camp, one of the first to be built after Kurdish refugees arrived en masse to southern Turkey following an assault by Islamic State’s militants on the northern Syrian city of Kobani in late September.

 

Mehmet’s father rushed to find a cushion for me and to grab some tea from the tent next door, the 81. “We used to have a beautiful house which might be destroyed by the time we go back,” he said, “but I really hope we will have the chance to return.” The local People’s Protection Unit (YPG) had advised them to leave the city after the violence began to escalate, Mehmet explained. Islamic State’s attacks in the region of Rojava have so far displaced some 200,000 people into Turkish territory, according to data published by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

 

The population of Suruç, 20,000 inhabitants, tripled over the course of late September and early October. One of the coordinators of Suruç camp explained that even though the situation is stable now, difficulties remain. A number of families are still living in the streets and the camp is experiencing shortages of medicine and food.

 

While women and children queue to receive their families’ daily rations of rice and bread from the Red Crescent, men tend to spend the day at the Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) headquarters, the epicenter of news and emotions for Kobani.

 

Suruç Municipality, governed by the BDP, coordinates humanitarian aid and manages the camps. According to BDP representative Ismail Shahin, Suruç will never stop hosting people coming from Rojava (northern Syria/southwest Kurdistan) “since they are our people.” Many Kurds refuse to recognise the Turkish-Syrian border established after First World War and that divided tens of thousands of Kurdish families. Some of them are hosted by relatives in Suruç, while others have occupied empty houses. The Avesta Dugun Salonu, a wedding and ceremony hall, has been converted into a mass sleeping area and many families have taken shelter in the Ahmed-I Bican mosque.

 

The municipality has so far done its best to fulfill refugees’ needs. Local organisations have taken over coordination of the camps, and humanitarian goods have been stored in an improvised warehouse that was, until recently, a garage for lorries. Dozens of Turkish and Kurdish volunteers from across Turkey now work in that warehouse, which has become a hub of activity in recent weeks.

 

“We are now more organised, but it is difficult to calculate the amounts we can distribute. We do not know for how long will the conflict last”, says Deniz Dilan, one of the volunteers at the warehouse. According to Dilan, the worst is yet to come. Winter is imminent, and the weather in Suruc can become bitterly cold. “We need warm clothes and medicines,” Dilan said.

 

“Two of my brothers are already sick”, said Mehmet, “during the night is freezing in the camps”. Mehmet, like many other youngsters, spends his days strolling the city to pass the time, helping out his family where he can. “I am going now to get some aspirin from the Cultural Centre. Do you want to come with me?” The library, which probably for the first time has long queues of people waiting to enter, is now used as a makeshift dispensary for refugees.

 

Suruç has turned into a symbol of Kurdish resistance. It is an improvised rearguard, where thousands of people attempt to maintain their humanity even as they watch their houses being destroyed only a few miles away. Despite the hospitality of the neighbouring city, all of them concur in one fact: their home is on the other side of the border.

 

 

 

© AITOR SÁEZ Reporter / Tel.:+34-680 57 90 92 / aitorsaezreporter@gmail.com

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