Postcard from Nusaybin, Turkey

A settlement caught up in history’s whirlwind

The World Today Published 31 July 2014 Updated 4 March 2021 2 minute READ

Diana Darke

Author, ‘My House in Damascus: An Inside View of the Syrian Crisis’ (Haus)

One glance at a modern map is enough to understand why Nusaybin is a hotspot in today’s world. Lying in southeast Turkey, it looks across the border at its southerly reflection, Qamishli in northeast Syria; its main east-west highway hosts an endless convoy of tankers with their precious cargo heading out from Erbil in oil-rich Iraqi Kurdistan into oil-poor Turkey; and another highway leads southeast to Iraq’s Mosul. This volatile triangle of territory is delineated by watchtowers and fences along the Syrian-Turkish border that were put up in the 1970s, and by the long Syrian-Iraqi desert frontier that became a physical barrier only after 2003.

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