Human Rights Watch: Syria must end persecuting Kurdish minority

Human Rights Watch Syri

Syria is persecuting its Kurdish minority, detaining activists and banning peaceful gatherings, even as neighboring countries have improved their treatment of the Kurds, an international human rights group said Thursday. The report by the New York-based Human Rights Watch, "Group Denial: Repression of Kurdish Political and Cultural Rights in Syria," documents crackdowns by Syrian authorities on the minority community such as banning gatherings celebrating Kurdish festivals and the ill treatment of Kurds in detention. Syria's Kurds have long complained of discrimination, saying many of them are denied citizenship, making it difficult for them to find work or enroll in the state-run education system. The government argues that the estimated 250,000 Kurds who don't have citizenship are not Syrians but Kurds who fled to the country from neighboring Turkey or Iraq. Kurds who are citizens, it says, enjoy the same rights as other Syrians. The Kurds also complain that their areas in northern and eastern Syria suffer neglect.