Aysha Moarri, 45, is sobbing while caressing a white, quilted body bag on the back of a lorry.
“How are you leaving me behind? You were the only reason that I stayed alive… How can I breathe now?”
Her daughter is inside. Next to her are the bodies of five other members of their family.
It’s another cold bright afternoon at the Bab al-Hawa border crossing between southern Turkey and opposition-held north-western Syria.
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Syrian refugee families who have lost loved ones in the earthquake that struck southern Turkey last week are gathered there to help repatriate their bodies.
Around us the heavy smell of death hangs in the air.
The name of each Syrian victim brought to Bab al-Hawa is written with a blue pen on the body bags, to ensure they can be identified once back home.
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“Take good care of each other. Shirin, my dear, take care of your brother and sister and my beloved grandchildren,” says Aysha as she kisses her daughter’s body through the white cloth.
Her fingers linger on the lorry as it begins to pull away, clearly not wanting to let go. Her husband breaks into tears at the sight of the truck crossing the border.
“Goodbye my dears… You will all go home… You will be together,” Nouman says, waving a bandaged hand.
That morning, five more lorries arrive at the border carrying the bodies of Syrians recovered from under the rubble. Some are just wrapped in blankets, rather than body bags.
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Photo Credit: Getty