15 year-old Kadria cried as she told me that, top of her class in her school in Aleppo, she had set her heart on becoming a doctor. Without schooling for the last ten months, living with three other IDP (Internally displaced persons) families in a barely furnished two-room cold-water apartment in an unfinished building in Derek, Rojava, obviously malnourished and deeply depressed, she said she felt she had no future.
Kadria and the few surviving members of her family had escaped from a village near Aleppo last year. Along with two other families headed by young widows, they are camping in an unfurnished and unfinished apartment block in Rojava’s capital, Qamishly, in the province of Hasakah. It has been the scene of fierce fighting in recent months between jihadists linked to al-Qaida and Kurdish fighters, mainly young women from the YPJ, the all-female section of the People’s Protection Units (YPG). Kadria is just one of the many children and young people among the 200,000 IDPs in Rojava, whose lives have been so totally disrupted by the Syrian civil war, now entering its third year.