Three Kurds killed in Qamishle in Northeastern Syria

March 21, 2008 § Leave a comment

(Photo of the suspension bridge over the Euphrates in Deir ez-Zour, a Syrian city which has a substantial Kurdish population.)

Syrian security forces shot three Kurds to death and wounded four others in the Northeastern Syrian city of Qamishle which is on the Turkish border and very close to Iraq. The Kurds were celebrating Noruz. (Reuters via RMC daily news report.)

One resident said the youths burned tires and threw stones at the riot police, who are permanently deployed in the city which is home to a large Kurdish population. Another resident said the police fired at the crowd unprovoked.

There is much prejudice towards Kurds in Syria. Many times, they are seen as unclean and uneducated. The Kurdish population in Syria is concentrated in the Northeast and there are some Kurdish pockets in Western Syria. Relations between the Syrian government and the Kurdish population have shifted over time. Former president Hafiz al-Assad cultivated ties for a time with the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) and provided a safe haven for the group, but there the relations between the government and the Kurds have since soured substantially.

Turkey invades Iraq; PKK calls for peaceful solution

February 23, 2008 § Leave a comment

Here is a clip from al-Jazeera regarding the Turkish invasion of Iraq. Watch the video for footage of Turkish troops crossing the border and of the damaged infrastructure.

The report says that thousands of Turkish soldiers have crossed the border into northern Iraq in order to target the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (al-hezb al-‘amal al-kurdistani or PKK). Turkey says the group has been using northern Iraq as a base from which to launch attacks on Turkish soil. This is the biggest operation of its kind since 20 years. Turkey has not provided much information on the operations inside Iraq, but humanitarian groups have reported that bridges have been destroyed and people targeted.

Al-Jazeera also reports that the PKK has threatened to launch attacks inside of Turkey — without targeting civilians — if they did not stop their incursion into Iraq. The PKK has called for a peaceful resolution to the situation, saying that the Turks are the “ones who refuse dialogue.”

Give us your oil, please

January 21, 2008 § 1 Comment

Have you seen the Other Iraq?

It’s spectacular.
It’s peaceful.
It’s joyful.
Fewer than two hundred US troops
are stationed here.
Arabs, Kurds and westerners all vacation together.

Welcome to Iraqi-Kurdistan!

(Image and text from The Other Iraq, a website affiliated with the Kurdistan Regional Government that seeks to encourage investment.)

Kurdistan is an area which encompasses land from Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran.

Iraqi Kurdistan (aka northern Iraq) is particularly attractive for investors because of the potential for booming oil production. An article from al-Hayat reports that the Kurdistan Regional Government has entered into a binding investment agreement with foreign companies regarding drilling for oil in the north.

Khalid al-Salah, a spokesperson for the Kurdistan Regional Government, said that the agreement was “legit” (qanooniya), yet the central government in Baghdad considers the agreement “null” (batilla) since the Parliament has not yet decided on the oil laws. A Kurdish official responded that the agreement has no relation to Parliament and said that the central government should not interfere with Kurdish issues.

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