Life in the ruins: Syrian Kurds return to Kobani, reduced to rubble by the fight against Isis

Four months of fierce battle between Kurdish fighters and Islamic State (IS) jihadists, supported by US-led air strikes, have left the town of Kobani in ruins.

The border town was once home to 200,000 people, but most fled into Turkey when the IS onslaught began. Many watched the daily bombardment of their home town from a hill just over the Turkish border.

Although all of the Islamist militants have been killed or driven out of the town, residents have been advised not to return to Kobani. Half of the town lies in rubble, there's no electricity or water, and IS littered the place with booby trap bombs.

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But an estimated 40,000 people have returned to what is left of their homes, with thousands more arriving every week. Many are uncertain of the future, but there is a sense of optimism, a determination to show defiance in the face of Islamist aggression.

Kurdish Syrian girls play in the ruins of Kobani, also known as Ain al-ArabYasin Akgul/AFP
A Kurdish Syrian woman sweeps debris away from what is left of a residential building in KobaniYasin Akgul/AFP
Syrian Kurds sitting on the back of a truck return to the war-ravaged town of KobaniYasuyoshi Chiba/AFP
A teacher poses for a picture as school pupils return to class after Islamic State jihadists were expelled from KobaniMichalis Karagiannis/AFP
A girl sits in a war-damaged classroom at a school in KobaniMichalis Karagiannis/AFP
Children run through a huge hole in a wall at the school in KobaniMichalis Karagiannis/AFP
Children swing on an electrical wire hanging off a damaged building in KobaniYasin Akgul/AFP
A woman looks at debris strewn around her damaged home in KobaniYasin Akgul/AFP
A Kurdish Syrian woman walks past a tank abandoned on a street in KobaniYasin Akgul/AFP
Bakers work in a bread factory in KobaniYasin Akgul/AFP
Kurdish men warm themselves by a fire near a destroyed building in KobaniYasin Akgul/AFP

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