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syrian troops 298.88 AP.(Photo by: AP [file])
10,000 Syrian troops deploy in Kurdish region
The Media Line News Agency
03/23/2008
Move comes following violence during celebration of Kurdish New Year over the weekend.
The Syrian army has moved some 10,000 soldiers into five cities in the country's northern, Kurdish-dominated region, following violence over the weekend, which left three people dead. The killing occurred during celebration of the Kurdish New Year - Nowruz - in the city Qameshli close to the border with Turkey, according to several local news sources. Some 10 percent of the Syrian population is Kurdish but, despite this, they lack any political influence and the Kurdish language and flag are both banned. Following a population census in 1962, the Syrian government stripped some 20% of the Kurds of their citizenship in an effort to Arabize the population, claiming that many of the local Kurds had infiltrated the country from neighboring Turkey and Iraq. The effect of the census left the Kurds, who had lost their citizenship, stateless, despite the fact that many of them fulfilled the demands set out by the Syrian government such as being born in Syria. Residing in Syria also meant many lacked the possibility of gaining citizenship in another country. The Arabization policy was part of a larger movement that swept the Middle East during the 1960s and '70s that promoted regional cooperation based on a common cultural heritage. Disturbances were also reported from Turkey, where police and Turkish Kurds clashed in several cities in the countries eastern, Kurdish-dominated region. Melees also took place between police and local Kurds in Mersin and Izmir, in western Turkey.
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