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Holding a Paintbrush Instead of a Gun

The United States-led coalition is beginning to provide weapons and ammunition to fighters defending the city of Kobani, in northern Syria. The city is hoping for help from Kurdish militias in the fight against Islamic State forces.

One young Kurd has found an unusual way to help the people of Kobani. Instead of a gun, 27-year-old artist Sherzad Ebrahim is using a paintbrush.

Mr. Ebrahim comes from the mainly Kurdish city of Afrin, in northwestern Syria. When he first heard about the battle for Kobani, he went to join Kurds defending the city. But he says he soon discovered that he is not a fighter. So he decided to help the best way he could. He crossed the border to Turkey and began to paint.

“The fighter takes up arms to protect people. The writers, they write articles and poetry. And we help by painting for our people.”

His paintings are now being shown in the main square of Suruc, Turkey. Some of the paintings are unpleasant or upsetting. Mr. Ebrahim says the work means to show the evil of the Islamic State. That militant group is known locally by the name “Daesh.”

“Daesh’s policy is clear. It’s all about bombing, blood, shelling and execution. We draw that, but through our own vision.”

He says he hopes the battle for Kobani will end soon.

“Ensh-Allah (God willing) not one Daesh fighters will remain. And we go back. And we will rebuild everything destroyed by Daesh.”

Sherzad Ebrahim says he will donate the money from the sale of his paintings to the people of Kobani now living in Turkey as refugees.

I’m Jeri Watson.

*This report was based on a story from VOA Correspondent Scott Bobb in Turkey. Jeri Watson wrote it for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.


Words in this Story

militia - n. an armed force or private army

paintbrush - n. a tool used for putting paint on a surface

upsetting - adj. mentally or emotionally troubling

evil - n. morally bad

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