Syrians seek news at graveyard of unknown quake victims

STORY: This is the gravestone of a girl killed in last month’s earthquake in Syria - but it bears no name.

Instead it notes that she is wearing a green sweater at the time of her burial.

Since the devastating earthquake on Feb 6., dozens of unidentified victims have been buried at this cemetery in the northern Syrian town of Jandaris.

And caretaker Maysara al-Hussein hopes the description on the girl’s stone may help at least one more person be identified:

"There are whole families buried here, and there's a percentage of unidentified victims - probably around 50, 60, or 70 people who were unidentified. They would sometimes take pictures of their faces, other times - for this child for example, they couldn't take a picture, why? Because of disfigurement or there's no one who can identify her. So we wrote down that she was wearing a green sweater, things like that."

Hussein shows the images to people who visit looking for missing loved ones.

Occasionally, he has managed to identify a person and guided relatives to their tombstone.

But more often, he is unable to help and points them to other graveyards to continue their search.

Local authorities have no figures for the number of people still missing since the earthquake, which killed thousands of people in Syria and tens of thousands in Turkey.

In Jandaris, Intisar Sheikho is still waiting for news of her 12-year-old nephew, Mustafa.

“My brother and his children made it out, they managed to rescue themselves and leave the building, but it collapsed on them, we rescued my brother and his son, but two children and their mother died, and another child is still missing and we do not know anything about him.// The rescue team continued to look for him until the next day, they took out three children, but we didn't know if my nephew was among them or not. I am still making contact but I'm not finding out any news about him."

65-year-old Fadel El Jaber is searching for three grandchildren who have been missing since their apartment block collapsed in the town of Salqin.

The bodies of their father, mother and two siblings were recovered - but there are rumors the other three survived.

"Now it has been a month or so, we are calling out to people of good conscience, whoever has a piece of information to pass on to us, so that we can rest."