TIME

Caught in the middle of a civil war between Turkey and its Kurds

A family stands near a house destroyed by fighting in the Turkish city of Silopi

AFTER ZERDA AND YOLDAS, A KURDISH COUPLE IN THEIR 30s from Diyarbakir in southeastern Turkey, married about 15 years ago, they bought a parcel of land from relatives in the town’s old city, across the street from a school. The land contained a small house, which they expanded over the years, adding rooms one by one, mixing the cement themselves. They began to raise their three children there. “We were poor, but we had a nice home with a nice garden,” says Zerda.

With roughly a million inhabitants, Diyarbakir is the de facto capital of this heavily Kurdish area of southeastern Turkey. The Kurds are a loosely defined ethnic group united by language and scattered across parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Armenia, with hundreds of thousands more living in a diaspora in Europe and beyond. Diyarbakir is at the center of a long war between the

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