A barrel bomb dropped by forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad in Aleppo

People inspect a site hit by what activists said was a barrel bomb dropped by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad on al-Marjeh neighborhood of Aleppo

People inspect a site hit by what activists said was a barrel bomb dropped by forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad on al-Marjeh neighborhood of Aleppo.

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the funeral of Kurdish fighters killed during clashes against Islamic State in Syrian

Kurdish mourners shovel earth into a grave during the funeral of Kurdish fighters killed during clashes against Islamic State in the Syrian town of Kobani, at a cemetery in the southeastern town of Suruc

Kurdish mourners shovel earth into a grave during the funeral of Kurdish fighters killed during clashes against Islamic State in the Syrian town of Kobani, at a cemetery in the southeastern town of Suruc, Sanliurfa province.

Syrian Kurdish refugee, cries on a hilltop on the outskirts of Suruc

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Syrian Kurdish refugee Mohammad Hassan, from Kobani, cries on a hilltop on the outskirts of Suruc, Turkey, near the Turkey-Syria border. Kobani and its surrounding areas have been under attack by the Islamic State group since mid-September.

A Lebanese member of the press helps a child flee fighting

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A Lebanese member of the press helps a child flee fighting as the Lebanese army clashes with militants in Tripoli, Lebanon. According to reports, one civilian died and 20 people were wounded, including eight soldiers, in clashes following an attack upon an army patrol. The attack was allegedly in response to the arrest of a commander affiliated with the Islamic State militant group.

At 106, Hamda’s memories reach all the way back to the Syria

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Hamda, 106, pictured in her son’s rented home in Bar Elias, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon.

A lot has changed in the 45 years since Hamda, 106, was last in Lebanon. Her husband, whom she lived with prior to Lebanon’s civil war in the Bekaa Valley town of Bar Elias, has since passed away. She’s also lost her eyesight, and now she is a refugee.

‘Maybe it is a good thing that God took my eyesight before I saw the destruction of my country,’ says Hamda, from the small rented home she now shares with her youngest son and his family.

‘At first, we only heard bombing in the distance, but within a few weeks they were upon us. That is when we ran. They picked me up and put me in the car. I didn’t grasp what was happening: where they took me, how, why, I didn’t know anything.’

At 106, Hamda’s memories reach all the way back to the French administration in Syria. She recalls how French expatriates used to visit the Orontes River to swim, ‘I remember how they used to come as a large group, perhaps 40 to 50 people. They would sit in the shade, drink coffee, and swim all the day.’

When Hamda speaks she evokes a lost age when people were honest and loving, but now, she says, everything has changed, ‘even if the war ends and we rebuild our homes, there are many things that can never be rebuilt. Syrians were never divided.. alas, now they will never be the same.’

‘Bury me in Syria, Please promise me you’ll bury me at home.’

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Dagha, 101, pictured outside her family’s shelter in Akkar Province, northern Lebanon, near the Syrian border.

From her family’s little tent on a hill in Lebanon, Dagha, who is 101, used to listen to the shelling from across the border in her native Syria. Sitting quietly and mending clothes, she would try to figure out which part of Syria the shelling was coming from.

But a year ago she suffered a stroke, which left her partially paralysed, and now she just squeezes the hands of visitors and family members who come up to her to give her a kiss.

News arrives every week of more people who’ve died in her home village, including relatives. Her family members try not to tell her the details anymore. But they say she knows. She often cries in her sleep.

‘Her biggest fear is that she’ll die in Lebanon,’ says Fatima, her granddaughter. ‘Before her stroke when she was still able to talk as clearly as a teenager she’d say, ‘Bury me in Syria. Please promise me you’ll bury me at home.’

Turkish army tanks take position on top of a hill near Mursitpinar border crossing

Turkish army tanks take position on top of a hill near Mursitpinar border crossing in the southeastern Turkish town of Suruc

Turkish army tanks take position on top of a hill near Mursitpinar border crossing in the southeastern Turkish town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province. A senior Kurdish militant has threatened Turkey with a new Kurdish revolt if it sticks with its current policy of non-intervention in the battle for the Syrian town of Kobani. Kurdish forces allied to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the People’s Defence Units (YPG), are fighting against Islamic State insurgents attacking Kobani close to the Turkish border. Turkey is reluctant to open its border to allow arms to reach the out-gunned Kurds.

Turkish soldiers stand guard near Mursitpinar border crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border

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Turkish soldiers stand guard near Mursitpinar border crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern Turkish town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province.

A Kurdish boy waves to other side of the Turkish/Syrian border at Suruc

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A Kurdish boy waves to other side of the Turkish/Syrian border at Suruc where thousands of Syrians are fleeing to Turkey to escape the violence in their home country.

An injured girl lies on a bed, following reported air strikes by Syrian government

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An injured girl lies on a bed at a makeshift hospital, following reported air strikes by Bashar Al Asad government forces in Syria.