ISIS's Evil Crushed This City, but Not Its People
KOBANI, Syria -- As the Iraqi military struggles with ISIS, it could learn a lesson from Kurdish troops. In Syria, the Peshmerga helped free the city of Kobani, with help from American airstrikes.
CBN's Gary Lane joined CBN Humanitarian and Disaster Relief workers as they brought help to the ravaged city of Kobani.
They were shocked by what we saw. Much of the town has been destroyed. The effort to drive ISIS from Kobani left much of this area just devsastated.
But slowly, people are coming back. The town now has a population of about 20 percent of what it was once before.
Life is extremely difficult, both for those who stayed here during the fighting and for those who recently returned.
There's no running water or electricity in the city, and there's little food to eat. Families cook what they can--mostly beans and rice--over wood fires.
Last fall, handyman Mutasam Khoja, his wife, and six children fled for Turkey as ISIS fighters entered their village near Kobani.
"We lost everything," he told CBN News. "Even if we could return to our village, we have nothing there. ISIS destroyed our home and took everything."
Khoja recently joined his brother's family in Kobani.
"Security wise we have no problem here, but there are no jobs, no fuel, we have no money and we can't afford food," he said. "We cannot keep going. We don't know what will happen to us tomorrow."
CBN, in partnership with the Barzani Charitable Trust Foundation of Iraqi Kurdistan, recently delivered three big truckloads of flour to the local Kobani bakery. Excited employees unloaded a total of 70 tons.
The bread factory is the only working bakery of its kind in the area. The donated flour was enough to provide several loaves of fresh bread for each person in Kobani and continued employment for the factory workers.
The Kobani Kurds told us their city's economy needs international help to improve.
One Kobani resident, Mustafa said Turkey must be pressured to open the border so people can flow into Kobani. Only then will life begin returning to normal.
And what about the fight against the Islamic State? Mustafa said Iraq can learn lessons from Syrian Kurds who had the will to stay and fight ISIS in Kobani.
"We really sacrificed and our uprising was not only for the people of Kobani, but for people everywhere. If (they) had fled instead of taking a stand against them, they would have followed us elsewhere."
Many people here are disgusted and angry at the Islamic State. They blame their city's dismal condition on militant Islam.
Some told CBN News they no longer want to be Muslim. We found them yearning to learn more about God's love and Christianity.
CBN Disaster Relief team members prayed with them and handed out digital audio players containing Kurdish language Bibles.
Despite all the hardship they've been through, most Kobani Kurds were warm and welcoming - an optimistic people, determined to rebuild their city and keep ISIS out.
"They will not be able to stay here because everybody in Kobani will stand against them and fight them," Mustafa insisted.
Khoja said the people of Kobani desperately need the world's help if they're to feed their families and rebuild the city.
He also asks Christians to pray.
"We cannot describe what has happened here, but you can see it on your TV screens. Christians around the world should lift up their prayers according to what they have seen," he said.
Images of evil wrought on one Syrian city. And views of an unbeaten people, in desperate need of help.