Syria courts Kurds after demonstrations

2011-04-07 17:26

kalahari.com

Beirut - The Syrian president on Thursday granted citizenship to thousands of Kurds living in a northeastern province, fulfilling a key demand by the country's long ostracised minority and making yet another overture amid extraordinary anti-government protests that have shaken Bashar Assad's authoritarian regime.

State-run television said Assad issued a decree granting citizenship to more than 250 000 Kurds registered as aliens in the Hasaka province records.

In a separate decree, Assad sacked the governor of central Homs province that has been the scene of clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces in the past three weeks.

The overtures are part of a series of concessions by the regime, designed to subdue the protests that erupted in a southern city on March 18 and spread to other parts of Syria.

The decrees come on the eve of more protests planned by Syrian activists, who on social networking sites have called for nationwide demonstrations on Friday.

Local and international human rights groups have said at least 100 people were killed in three weeks of the crackdown on demonstrations that echo the recent uprisings across the Arab world.

Kurds - the largest ethnic minority in Syria - make up 15% of the country's 23 million population and have long complained of neglect and discrimination. About 250 000 Kurds have been denied citizenship, making it difficult to find work or enroll in the state-run education system.

Kurds not in anti-government protests


The government had argued that they are not Syrians but Kurds who fled to the country from neighbouring Turkey or Iraq.

Tensions between Kurds and the authorities have exploded into violence on several occasions. In March 2004, clashes between Syrian Kurds and security forces in the northeastern city of Qamishli spread to the nearby cities of Hasaka and Aleppo, with at least 25 killed and 100 wounded.

Kurds have so far not joined anti-government protests that started last month, but authorities have been concerned they would - making Thursday's move likely an attempt to pacify the community.

The Kurds welcomed the move. Omar Osso, head of the Kurds' National Initiative, said it will help "tighten the unity" of the Syrian people.

"This is a historic step that has humanitarian and social dimensions," Osso said.

Six Syrian rights groups said on Wednesday that judicial authorities ordered the release of 48 Kurds detained last year in the northern city of Raqqah after throwing stones at Syrian police who ordered Kurds celebrating their new year to replace their ethnic flags with Syrian ones.

Assad on Thursday dismissed Governor Mohammad Iyad Ghaza, which had been a major demand by Homs residents after deadly clashes between protesters and security forces in the province.

The Syrian leader has already fired the governor of Daraa, an impoverished southern province where the protests began nearly three weeks ago.

- AP
Read more on:    bashar assad  |  syria  |  syria conflict  |  uprisings
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

7 tips for the ultimate family camping trip

Taking the kids on a camping trip can be one of the most memorable holidays they will ever have!

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

BASE jump off the world’s tallest building!
Stand up paddler rides over shark!
Bear Grylls’ top 10 things kids should do outdoors
You HAVE to see this MTB Tsunami Fip!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Deal of the week!

20% off Afrikaans books, music and DVDs. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Hot gaming titles – available for pre-order!

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition, Far Cry 4, Grand Theft Auto 5 and more. Pre-order now!

Get a free eBook

Buy 3 eBooks and get the cheapest FREE. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Pushing too hard and doing too much may have left you feeling drained and overwhelmed. You may need time out to recharge and reset...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.