Syria Kurds honour victims of Halabja genocide




ARA News

Qamishli-Derik-Efrin, Syria– On Sunday, 16th of March, Syrian Kurds commemorated the 26th anniversary of the chemical attack by the Iraqi regime under the rule of the former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein against the Kurdish city of Halabja in Iraqi Kurdistan, 1988.  

In the city of Derik, the Kurdish Yekiti Party presented a silent play embodying the sufferings of the victims of Halabja.

The event started with an observation of minutes of silence in remembrance of the attack’s victims. Hundreds of Derik’s residents attended the event together with members of the Kurdish National Council in Syria (KNC) and members of civil organizations.

The Kurdish city of Halabja, located at the Iraqi-Iranian borders, was attacked on the 16th of March 1988 with chemical weapons dropped by Iraqi planes by the end of the first Gulf War between Iraq and Iran. The chemical attack resulted in the death of at least 5000 people and the injury of about 10.000, according to reports. Most of the victims were Kurdish civilians. 

Sameer Sharif, a member of the Kurdish Yekiti Party, told ARA News: “The painful tragedy which hit Halabja city will remain unforgettable in our memory, that’s why we depicted the genocide in a silent play today.”

In Efrin city in northwestern Syria, the locals observed on Sunday minutes of silence to honour of the victims of the chemical attack. The locals together with prominent political and social figures gathered in the main streets of Efrin to condemn the genocide of Halabja, amid closing of commercial shops and traffic stop.

Residents of Efrin also honoured 6 activists who were shot dead by the Syrian regime in the commemoration of Halabja’s chemical attack in 2004 in Efrin city while they were observing minutes of silence. A number of the locals visited the graveyard where the bodies of the 6 activists are buried and speeches of condemnation of the incident were given.

Notably, most of the Kurdish cities saw similar events on Sunday. Customarily, Kurds observe minutes of silence in the remembrance of the victims at 11 o’clock, the time the city was hit by the chemical attack.

In Qamishli, northeast of Syria, Kurdish residents revived Halabja massacre by taking to the street and raise banners honour Halabja victims. Politicians and civil activists participated in the commemoration. 

Youth movements and organizations, including the Kurdish Youth Movement (TCK) and the Revolutionary Youth Movement of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) raised a banner read “Halabja is a cry in the conscience of humanity“, and “Halabja massacre remains in the memory of every Kurd“.

Kawa Muhammad, an activist based in Qamishli, told ARA News that despite the pain and difficulties experienced by Syrian Kurds under the current war conditions, “they faithfully recalled the anniversary of Halabja and its martyrs”.


Reporting by: Judi Mohammed, Jinda Ahmad and Judi Aziz

Source: ARA News


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