The forgotten faces of war

  • An old Kurdish man reacts on tear gas during a clash between Turkish soldiers and Kurdish protestors near the Mursitpinar border crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern town of Suruc, Sanliurfa province, on Oct. 4, 2014. Turkey will do whatever it can to prevent the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane from falling to jihadists, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said after the Turkish parliament gave the green light for military action. Islamic State (IS) militants have now advanced to within a few kilometres from Kobane, known as Ain al-Arab in Arabic, which lies just across the Turkish border. 
  • Syrian Kurds wait near the Syria border at the southeastern town of Suruc in the Sanliurfa province after crossing the border between Syria and Turkey after several mortars hit both sides on Oct. 2, 2014. Islamic State fighters are pushing towards a key Kurdish town on Syria’s border with Turkey, whose parliament is set on Oct.2 to consider authorizing military intervention against the jihadists on its doorstep. Kurdish fighters backed by US-led air strikes were locked in fierce fighting Wednesday to prevent the besieged border town of Ain al-Arab (Kobane) from falling to the Islamic State group fighters.
  • Syrian Kurds rest in the southeastern town of Suruc in the Sanliurfa province after crossing the border between Syria and Turkey on Oct. 2, 2014. Islamic State fighters are pushing towards a key Kurdish town on Syria’s border with Turkey, whose parliament is set on Oct. 2 to consider authorizing military intervention against the jihadists on its doorstep.
  • Syrian Kurds sit in the back of a pick-up truck in the southeastern town of Suruc in the Sanliurfa province after crossing the border between Syria and Turkey after mortars hit both sides on Oct. 2, 2014. Islamic State fighters are pushing towards a key Kurdish town on Syria’s border with Turkey, whose parliament is set on Oct. 2 to consider authorizing military intervention against the jihadists on its doorstep. Kurdish fighters backed by US-led air strikes were locked in fierce fighting to prevent the besieged border town of Ain al-Arab, known as Kobane by the Kurds, from falling to the Islamic State group fighters.
  • A Syrian Kurdish man stands in the southeastern town of Suruc in the Sanliurfa province after crossing the border between Syria and Turkey after mortars hit both sides on Oct. 2, 2014. Islamic State fighters are pushing towards a key Kurdish town on Syria’s border with Turkey, whose parliament is set on Oct. 2 to consider authorizing military intervention against the jihadists on its doorstep. Kurdish fighters backed by US-led air strikes were locked in fierce fighting to prevent the besieged border town of Ain al-Arab, known as Kobane by the Kurds, from falling to the Islamic State group fighters.
  • Syrian Kurds take cover from the rain in the southeastern town of Suruc in the Sanliurfa province after crossing the border between Syria and Turkey after mortars hit both sides on Oct. 2, 2014. Islamic State fighters are pushing towards a key Kurdish town on Syria’s border with Turkey, whose parliament is set on Oct. 2 to consider authorizing military intervention against the jihadists on its doorstep. Kurdish fighters backed by US-led air strikes were locked in fierce fighting to prevent the besieged border town of Ain al-Arab, known as Kobane by the Kurds, from falling to the Islamic State group fighters.
  • Syrian Kurds take cover from the rain in the southeastern town of Suruc in the Sanliurfa province after crossing the border between Syria and Turkey after mortars hit both sides on Oct. 2, 2014. Islamic State fighters are pushing towards a key Kurdish town on Syria’s border with Turkey, whose parliament is set on October 2 to consider authorizing military intervention against the jihadists on its doorstep. Kurdish fighters backed by US-led air strikes were locked in fierce fighting to prevent the besieged border town of Ain al-Arab, known as Kobane by the Kurds, from falling to the Islamic State group fighters.
  • Syrian Kurds get into bus after crossing the border between Syria and Turkey after several mortars hit both side in the southeastern town of Suruc, in the Sanliurfa province, on Sept. 30, 2014. Tens of thousands of Syrian Kurds flooded into Turkey fleeing an onslaught by the Islamic State (IS) group that prompted an appeal for international intervention. Some refugees now want to return to protect their homes and join the fight against Islamic State group militants. 
  • A Syrian Kurdish woman stands in front of military truck after crossing the border between Syria and Turkey after several mortars hit both sides near the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province on Sept. 29, 2014. Tens of thousands of Syrian Kurds flooded into Turkey fleeing an onslaught by the Islamic State (IS) group that prompted an appeal for international intervention. Some of the refugee now want to return to protect their homes and join the fight against ISIS militants. 
  • Syrian Kurdish children arrive at the border between Syria and Turkey after several mortars hit both side in the southeastern town of Suruc, in the Sanliurfa province on Sept. 29, 2014. Tens of thousands of Syrian Kurds flooded into Turkey fleeing an onslaught by the Islamic State (IS) group that prompted an appeal for international intervention. Some of the refugee now want to return to protect their homes and join the fight against ISIS militants. 
  • Syrian Kurdish people wait after crossing the border between Syria and Turkey after several mortars hit both side in the southeastern town of Suruc, in the Sanliurfa province on Sept. 29, 2014. Tens of thousands of Syrian Kurds flooded into Turkey fleeing an onslaught by the Islamic State (IS) group that prompted an appeal for international intervention. Some of the refugee now want to return to protect their homes and join the fight against IS militants. 
  • A Syrian Kurdish girl and her mother wait after crossing the border between Syria and Turkey in the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province on Sept. 29, 2014. Tens of thousands of Syrian Kurds flooded into Turkey fleeing an onslaught by the Islamic State (IS) group that prompted an appeal for international intervention. Some of the refugee now want to return to protect their homes and join the fight against IS militants. 
  • Syrian Kurdish people arrive at the border between Syria and Turkey after several mortars hit both side in the southeastern town of Suruc, in the Sanliurfa province on Sept. 29, 2014. Tens of thousands of Syrian Kurds flooded into Turkey fleeing an onslaught by the Islamic State (IS) group that prompted an appeal for international intervention. Some of the refugee now want to return to protect their homes and join the fight against ISIS militants. 
  • Syrian Kurdish people arrive at the border between Syria and Turkey after several mortars hit both side in the southeastern town of Suruc, in the Sanliurfa province on Sept. 29, 2014. Tens of thousands of Syrian Kurds flooded into Turkey fleeing an onslaught by the Islamic State (IS) group that prompted an appeal for international intervention. Some of the refugee now want to return to protect their homes and join the fight against ISIS militants.
  • Syrian Kurds stand on a hill looking down on clashes between jihadists of the Islamic State (IS) and Kurdish fighters, close to the Turkish-Syrian border in Sanlinurfa province, on Sept. 28, 2014. Turkey has so far taken in over 160,000 refugees who fled the IS assault around the town of Ain al-Arab, but Erdogan said it would be better if they could live safely in their own country. 
  • Syrian Kurds sit on a hill looking down on clashes between jihadists of the Islamic State (IS) and Kurdish fighters,close to the Turkish-Syrian border in Sanlinurfa province, on Sept. 28, 2014. Turkey has so far taken in over 160,000 refugees who fled the IS assault around the town of Ain al-Arab, but Erdogan said it would be better if they could live safely in their own country. 
  • Turkish military forces of the Jandarma (Police Force) block the acces to the Mursitpinar crossing gate near the Syrian border, as Syrian Kurdish people try to pass (behind shields), in the southeastern town of Suruc, Sanliurfa province, on Sept. 28, 2014. Hundreds of Kurds on Sept. 26 broke through the Turkish border into Syrian territory to join Kurdish forces battling the advance of Islamic State (IS) militants around the Syrian town of Ain al-Arab. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey could take a military role in the coalition fighting Islamic State (IS) militants as Ankara moves to take a frontline position in the campaign.
  • Turkish military forces of the Jandarma (Police Force) block the acces to the Mursitpinar crossing gate near the Syrian border in the southeastern town of Suruc, Sanliurfa province, on Sept. 28, 2014. Hundreds of Kurds on September 26 broke through the Turkish border into Syrian territory to join Kurdish forces battling the advance of Islamic State (IS) militants around the Syrian town of Ain al-Arab. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey could take a military role in the coalition fighting Islamic State (IS) militants as Ankara moves to take a frontline position in the campaign. 
  • Syrian Kurds, fleeing an onslaught by the jihadist Islamic State (IS) group, sit in a bus after crossing the Syria Turkey border at the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, on Sept. 27, 2014. Hundreds of Kurds broke yesterday through the Turkish border into Syrian territory to join Kurdish forces battling the advance of Islamic State (IS) militants around the Syrian town of Ain al-Arab.
  • A Syrian Kurd man, fleeing an onslaught by the jihadist Islamic State (IS) group, sits on his belongings fixed on a car roof after crossing the Syria Turkey border at the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, on Sept. 27, 2014. Hundreds of Kurds broke yesterday through the Turkish border into Syrian territory to join Kurdish forces battling the advance of Islamic State (IS) militants around the Syrian town of Ain al-Arab. 
  • Turkish and Syrian Kurds break down the border fences to cross into neighboring Syria during a demonstration near the Mursitpinar border crossing at Suruc in Sanliurfa province, on Sept. 26, 2014. Tens of thousands of Syrian Kurds flooded into Turkey fleeing an onslaught by the jihadist Islamic State group that prompted an appeal for international intervention. Some of the refugee now want to return to protect their homes and fight IS. 
  • A Syrian Kurdish shepherd Mahmud Hacimuhammed (L) from Mile Village, Kobani takes care of his 350 sheep near the Syrian border, after they crossed in Turkey with their animals at Suruc in Sanliurfa province, on Sept 25, 2014. Tens of thousands of Syrian Kurds flooded into Turkey fleeing an onslaught by the jihadist Islamic State group that prompted an appeal for international intervention. 
  • Syrian Kurds stand near the Turkish-Syrian border at Suruc in Sanliurfa province, on Sept. 25, 2014. Tens of thousands of Syrian Kurds flooded into Turkey fleeing an onslaught by the jihadist Islamic State group that prompted an appeal for international intervention. 
  • A Syrian Kurdish woman wipes her eyes during a dust storm on a hill where she and others stand watching clashes between jihadists of the Islamic State (IS) and Kurdish fighters, at Swedi village some 10 km west of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, on Sept. 24, 2014. Tens of thousands of Syrian Kurds flooded into Turkey fleeing an onslaught by the jihadist Islamic State group that prompted an appeal for international intervention. 
  • Syrian Kurds cross the border between Syria and Turkey at the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, on Sept. 24, 2014. The numbers of Kurdish refugees fleeing into Turkey to escape the advance of Islamic State jihadists in northern Syria has slowed considerably over the last few days, Turkish officials said on Wednesday. 
  • Syrian Kurds cross the border between Syria and Turkey at the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, on Sept. 24, 2014. 
  • Syrian Kurds cross the border between Syria and Turkey at the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, on Sept. 24, 2014. 
  • Syrian Kurds go back to Syria at Mursitpinar crossing gate at the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, on Sept. 24, 2014. 
  • Syrian Kurds carry their belongings as they cross the border between Syria and Turkey at the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province on Sept. 23, 2014. 
  • A Syrian Kurdish woman crosses the border between Syria and Turkey at the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province on Sept. 23, 2014. 
  • Syrian Kurds are searched as they cross the border between Syria and Turkey at the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province on Sept. 23, 2014. 
  • Syrian Kurds cross the border between Syria and Turkey at the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province on Sept. 23, 2014. 
  • A Turkish police officer gestures as they screen Syrian Kurds crossing the border between Syria and Turkey at the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province on Sept. 23, 2014. 
  • A Syrian Kurdish child cries as Turkish police search their bags after they crossed the border between Syria and Turkey at the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province on Sept. 23, 2014. 
  • A Syrian Kurdish boy is vaccinated at the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province on Sept. 23, 2014. 
  • People wait with their children for vaccination at the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province on Sept. 23, 2014. 
  • Syrian Kurds cross the border between Syria and Turkey at the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province on Sept. 23, 2014. 
  • Syrian Kurds cross the border between Syria and Turkey at the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province on Sept. 23, 2014. 
  • Syrian Kurds cross the border between Syria and Turkey at the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province on Sept. 23, 2014. 
  • Syrian Kurds cross the border between Syria and Turkey at the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province on Sept. 23, 2014. 
  • Syrian Kurds wait after crossing the Syrian-Turkish border at the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, on Sept. 23, 2014. Tens of thousands of Syrian Kurds flooded into Turkey on Saturday, fleeing an onslaught by the jihadist Islamic State group that prompted an appeal for international intervention. 
  • Syrian Kurds carry their belongings after crossing the Syrian-Turkish border at the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province on Sept. 23, 2014. 
  • Syrian Kurds sit in a truck after crossing the Syrian-Turkish border at the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province on Sept. 23, 2014. 
  • Syrian Kurds sit in a truck after crossing the Syrian-Turkish border at the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province on Sept. 23, 2014. 

of

Updated

Approximately 150,000 Syrian refugees, mainly Kurds, fleeing threats from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Monday’s U.S.-led airstrikes have crossed into southern Turkey since last Friday, according to the Associated Press. The southeastern Turkish town of Suruc, in Sanliurfa province, has seen tens of thousands of refugees, the majority of which are women, children and the elderly. They arrive exhausted and depleted after walking miles to safety on rough roads and carrying their belongings. 

Speaking to NBC News’ Ann Curry on Tuesday, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) High Commissioner Antonio Guterres said he had no doubt Syrians represented the largest refugee population in the world. In the three and a half years since the conflict began, 3.3 million Syrians have fled the country and 6.5 million have been internally displaced. As the war with ISIS intensifies, said Guterres, so too will the flood of refugees.

Human rights advocates are urging world leaders to keep the focus on protecting civilians, even as the conversation shifts to U.S. airstrikes in Syria. Sunjeev Berry, Middle East & North Africa advocacy director at Amnesty International USA, told msnbc that Turkey should keep its border open to those fleeing from the Islamic State, and that the U.S. should do more to assist in resettling Syrians. Global funding is also far short of what the United Nations says is necessary to meet the humanitarian needs of the refugee population.

In February, the U.N. Security Council, consisting of the world’s most powerful nations, passed a resolution to end direct and indiscriminate attacks on civilians in Syria, and to ensure that humanitarian aid gets to the millions most in need. Six months later, Syrians are still waiting for relief.

For more feature photography, go to msnbc.com/photography

Speak Out