Kurdish Protests of 2004 Are Honored in
Syria in 2012
March 12, 2012
QAMISHLI, Syrian Kurdistan, — Syrian
streets were once again filled with protesters last
Friday, as has been the case for most Fridays
throughout the course of the year-long revolution.
However, for Kurds, this Friday, nicknamed “In
Solidarity of the Kurdish Intifada” marked a special
show of solidarity from their Syrian comrades in
honor of the 8th anniversary of the Kurdish protests
that happened long before Egypt and Tunisia shook
the Middle Eastern status quo.
The name honored today’s anniversary of the
that took place in Qamishlo starting from March
12th, 2004. At the time, the Kurdish National
Government in Iraq was gaining strength, making Arab
nationalists in Syria inherently suspicious of
Syrian Kurds. After Arab fans at a football match in
Qamishlo waved pictures of Saddam Hussein and
chanted pro-Hussein slogans, the match resulted in a
riot and a month’s worth of protests by Syrian Kurds
demanding their human rights and greater autonomy.
In response, Syrian security forces shot live rounds
and tear gas into the crowds, killing over 30
protesters. Thousands of Kurds fled to Iraq in fear
of further reprisals from the Syrian government.
Kurds in Syria continued to be a thorn in the
regime’s side, protesting again in 2008 and in 2010.
In both years protests broke out after the regime
violently cracked down on Kurds simply celebrating
the holiday of Norouz.
Then, Kurds suffered the government’s crackdowns in
silence, relatively isolated from the rest of the
country. In fact, Arab silence back then was a
reason why the Kurdish opposition was reluctant to
join in the 2011 Syrian uprisings. (Kurdish youth,
however, flooded the streets of Qamishlo and Amoude
from the beginning.) However, the last year of
uprisings has redefined the lines of solidarity in
with parts of the Syrian population that had
previously been very isolated enthusiastically
showing solidarity for each other. Few Kurdish
protests emerged without signs and chants in support
of the besieged city of Homs, and on Friday, Homsis
and Syrians all over Syria went out and returned the
favor by chanting in honor of the Kurdish protests
of previous years.
The Syrian revolution has shown signs of being
supportive of Kurdish rights. Last month, Syrian
National Council leader Burhan Ghalioun addressed
Kurds directly, promising a decentralized central
government and national recognition of the Kurdish
identity. Ghalioun has made problematic statements
regarding Kurds in Syria in the past, comparing them
to immigrants in France at one point.
A video compilation posted to
displayed images and videos of Kurdish protests from
2004 to 2012, revealing the years long Kurdish
resistance to the Assad regime.
A collection of videos, images, and articles
highlighting protests against Assad’s regime in
Kurdish cities is available on
By Alliance for Kurdish Rights
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