“My cousin has joined the army of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and killed my father and my four brothers. I am a Syrian Arab but since then I have decided to fight the Islamic State right next to another of the Kurds. I became a YPG fighter”. Hanif is 40 years old and until now had never been a soldier. He has been trained very quickly, just 2 weeks, and during the siege of Kobanî was in the front line alongside the Kurds against the offensive of ISIS. He was wounded two times: first by a grenade and the second he was shot. He is spending his convalescence in Suruç at one of the camps self-managed by the Municipality. Once healed – he says – will return to fight.
He is a tall man, lanky, his gaze is proud but when he smiles he looks like a teenager. Bears the external signs of the wounds of the war and, in the eyes, the most profound ones of an inner struggle. He has great hands, gnarled fingers and all the nails eaten. Inside his shelter, a concrete box of no more than 6 square meters, next to the tent city, are hung his drawings. A few steps from the front, waiting to get well and return to shoot, on the decorated pages of a big exercise book from the elementary school, Hanif depicts flowers, doves and colorful hearts.