The situation in the Syrian Kurdish areas worsens
With an increase in anti-government protests in Syria’s Kurdish areas, concerns are rising that the already highly militarized towns may become the next major target for attack by government forces.
The spark of the uprising against the Syrian regime was first lit in March 2011, in Deraa, the southern city near the border with Jordan. After a week of demonstrations in Deraa against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, Kurds took to the streets to protest against the intensified crackdown on defenceless protesters.
Protests in the north and north-eastern Kurdish areas of Syria: Amudah, al Qamishli, Ras al-Ain (Serê Kaniyê), Ain al-Arab (Kobanî), Darbasiyah and in al-Malikiyah (Dêrik), proceeded mostly peacefully.
“In the mainly Kurdish neighbourhood Ruknuddin in Damascus, two Kurds were killed in a shooting rampage: 18-year-old Zardasht Wanli and 24-year-old Muhammad Ghazwan Serwan,” said KurdWatch, an independent internet portal that reports on human rights abuses against Kurds in Syria.
Since the beginning of the uprising more than 400 Kurdish people have been arrested and many of them have been tortured, said Radif Mustafa, the Chairman of the Kurdish Committee for Human Rights in Syria Al- Rased.
According to the latest information available to KurdWatch and the Kurdish Committee for Human Rights in Syria al-Rased, in the last three weeks Syrian security forces used tear gas on demonstrators in Al-Qamishli. Many protesters were injured and arrested.
“The escalation of demonstrations and the considerable harassment by the Syrian security forces in the Kurdish areas plague the Kurdish community. The Syrian government does not allow large demonstrations to take place peacefully, and as long as the security solution is the only choice by the regime, the Kurdish region, like other areas in Syria, will remain in danger,” said Mustafa Osso, the Chairman of the Kurdish human rights organization “DAD”.
Meanwhile, after more than 40 years of Baath Party domination in Syria, the government has introduced a new law to enable the formation of new political parties. However, under this new law the establishment of a new party must follow many strict requirements. According to the new law, parties can be established if they have at least 1,000 members, and as long as they do not have conversional, ethnic, or regional basis, in effect making the creation of Kurdish parties impossible.
Syria has traditionally been a highly fragmented state. Alevis, Sunnis, Shiites, Christians, Druze and Kurds all lived under the strict rule of President al-Assad. The Alevi minority make up 11 per cent of the population and controls most of the important governmental institutions. The Kurdish minority makes up 11 per cent of the population and has been discriminated against, including having their language and identity banned.
Kurdish people in Syria demand that they should be considered the second-largest ethnic group in the country, and the Kurdish language should be recognized as the second official language. Moreover, they demand the change of the name of the "Syrian Arab Republic" to the "Syrian Republic".
More than 1,800 people have been killed, including more than 80 children, and over 30,000 people arrested and detained across Syria since the beginning of demonstrations in mid-March, human rights observers say.
On September 2 Syrian security forces raided the house of Radif Mustafa, the Chairman of the Kurdish Comittee for Human Rights in Syria Al-Rased, according to human rights organizations. In an interview on the situation in the Kurdish areas in the northeast of Syria on August 10 Mustafa told MRG that the Syrian government used violence against its own civilians, and people would not stop taking to the streets and calling for their rights and demands.
Photos for this story have been obtained from the Young Kurdish Revolution facebook site http://www.facebook.com/Young.Kurdish.Rev?sk=wall#!/Young.Kurdish.Rev?sk=photos
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