Victims of Halabja massacre commemorated in South Kurdistan

Victims of the Halabja massacre are commemorated in southern Kurdistan (northern Iraq) where people stood still for one minute at 10:55 am in memory of the martyrs.

Today marks the 35th anniversary of the chemical attack on the Kurdish town of Halabja in South Kurdistan. Saddam Hussein was the first leader in modern times to brutally use chemical weapons against the Kurdish people. Between 1987 and 1988, he had chemical attacks directed towards 40 Kurdish villages and tested his weapons on thousands of innocent civilians. The worst of these attacks destroyed the town of Halabja in March 1988. 5000 civilians, among them many women, children and elderly, died within hours of the attack. More than 10.000 people were blinded or injured in other ways that destroyed their lives. Thousands of people lost their lives in epidemics or from birth injuries in the following years. Thousands more were forced to leave their homes. Up to 5,000 people perished that day. Thousands more were injured, most of them civilians. 

Commemorative events and protests are being held today to mark the anniversary of the chemical gas massacre in Halabja on March 16, 1988.

In South Kurdistan, people commemorated the martyrs of Halabja, bringing life to a standstill at 10:55 in the bazaars, streets and institutions.


Relatives of the victims of the Halabja massacre boycotted the official commemoration ceremony, saying that the government should heal the wounds of the massacre and serve the city instead of holding a ceremony.

The people, who did not attend the official ceremony organized by the government, visited the Halabja Martyrdom and commemorated the victims.

The people of Halabja said that they would resume protests at the end of Ramadan if their demands were not answered.


In a statement on Twitter, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani wrote that it is a moral duty to recognize Halabja as a province.

Sudani said: “It is our government's primary duty to serve cities that have faced persecution. "Today, we once again remember the Halabja Massacre, one of the greatest crimes against humanity, committed by the dictatorial regime of Saddam.”

Sudani added: “The government bill to make Halabja a province is above all a moral duty.”


The Martyr Rustem Judi Refugee Camp in Maxmur in South Kurdistan made a statement to mark the 35th anniversary of the Halabja Massacre.

The statement said: “The silence of states and Kurdish political parties shows that they are complicit in this crime. As the people of Maxmur, we stand by the people of Halabja. We call on everyone not to remain silent towards massacres against the Kurdish people. In the past, it was Halabja. Today it is Zap that is subjected to chemical attacks. As the Maxmur People's Assembly, we condemn the Halabja Massacre.”

Institutions of the Autonomous Administration North and East Syria (AANES) also stopped their work and stood in silence for five minutes to commemorate the Halabja martyrs.