For The Middle East Eye:
Diyarbakir — Liwaza Zamba, 57, has twice been forced to leave her home because of the ongoing conflict between the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Turkish state.
In 1993, after months of fighting between Turkish soldiers and Kurdish militants, her entire village was one of at least 3,000 razed to the ground by the military, forcing her and her family to move to Diyarbakir’s ancient walled city of Sur.
A little over a year ago, Zamba tied her white headscarf to a stick and waved it out of her window at Turkish soldiers, pleading with them to let her, her five children, and 25 relatives, get out of the district, which had been the site of an intense urban battle for a month.
“Police had been constantly announcing we must leave, but our family stayed for as long as we could because my children were so young, it was difficult to go outside, with helicopters and tanks and bullets flying,” Zamba said, sitting on the floor of a ramshackle apartment she is renting in a neighbourhood less than a kilometre from her old home.
“We came with nothing, we were only worried about saving the lives of our children, and all the things we owned are now mixed with the rubble of my home.”
In July 2015, Unesco added the district of Sur to its World Heritage List, but by the end of the year the ancient homes, churches and mosques there were already under threat. A year after the fighting ended, Turkish authorities are razing the district at a breakneck pace, and residents like Zamba have no hope of ever living there again.
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