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Kurdish Human Rights Project: This is the legacy website of the Kurdish Human Rights Project, containing reports and news pertaining to human rights issues in the Kurdish Regions for 20 years.

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KHRP Calls for Immediate Enquiry into Killing of Civilians in Syria
Monday, 22 March 2010 09:05

KHRP condemns the indiscriminate killing of Kurdish civilians by Syrian security forces at the Newroz festival in al-Raqqa, Syria. 

Yesterday two people were shot dead, the whereabouts of a third man is unknown and more than 41 were injured after Syrian security forces opened fire on crowds celebrating the Newroz festival. Eyewitnesses have also reported that many of the wounded have been arbitrarily detained. Others who are seriously wounded are being treated in their own homes for fear of being arrested in the state hospital. 

In the evening Kurdish revellers went to celebrate their New Year in the Kurdish area of al-Raqqa. A reported fifteen minutes into the festivities Ba’ath Party members arrived waving Syrian flags and photos of the President. According to reports from the ground, the Syrian security forces shot live ammunition rounds at the crowd and sprayed them with tear gas. Other members of the security forces were on stand-by near the area. Eighteen year-old Mihemed Umer Osman ‘Haider’ died in Aleppo University Hospital on Sunday night due to his injuries. A 15-year-old Kurdish girl is also believed to have been killed. Her body was taken away by security officials but no further information about the girl has been released. The whereabouts of a third man, Mohammed Khalil — who was originally thought to have been killed — are currently unknown. According to reports, his parents have been detained by the security forces, as have other people who have been arrested after visiting the hospitals to enquire after family members.

KHRP very strongly condemns the Syrian State for its flagrant disregard of international norms in the killing of its civilians. We call for those who were injured to be given appropriate treatment for their injuries without fear of arrest and that those who were arbitrarily detained are immediately released. KHRP demands an immediate investigation into the events in al-Raqqa to be undertaken by a neutral authority, in order that those responsible are held accountable.

KHRP Chief Executive, Kerim Yildiz today stated, ‘KHRP is very concerned to hear reports of such extreme and indiscriminate force being unleashed on unarmed civilians. The use of such lethal force is a grave violation of their right to assembly and an unacceptable abuse of state authority. Such irresponsible violence should be utterly condemned and those responsible for abuses should be brought to justice.’