Iraq: the Kurds commemorate chemical attack of Halabja

Irak: les Kurdes commémorent l'attaque chimique de Halabja

Hundreds of Kurds in Iraq commemorated on Saturday at Halabja, in the north-east of the country, the most important attack of a combat gas against civilians, conducted in 1988 by the army of Saddam Hussein.

As every year, relatives of the victims held pictures of their family members killed on march 16, 1988 by the air force in iraq which, for five hours, poured on the city a gas mixture of combat, including mustard gas, according to experts.

On this day, because the peshmerga (kurdish guerrillas), had supported the iranian army in the war between Iraq and its neighbor (1980-1988), about 5,000 iraqi Kurds, mostly women and children, have been killed.

Thirty-one years later, residents and local officials of the city of 200,000 inhabitants have again pleaded for compensation and support of the many people still suffering from respiratory problems due to the gas inhaled.

“The kurdish government, the iraqi central authorities and the international community have a debt to Halabja”, thus began the governor Azad Tawfiq.

“The sufferings of Halabja reflect those of the Kurds and all Iraqis,” wrote on Twitter the president of iraq Barham Saleh, a Kurd.

He added that the city embodies “today the will to resist and to be reborn”, in a country ravaged for decades by conflict, the last to date against the jihadists of the group islamic State (EI).

The First minister Adel Abdel Mahdi has him denounced in a press release “genocide” and estimated that Halabja “was and will remain a symbol of the barbarity of the dictatorship”.

The cousin and right hand man of Saddam Hussein, general Ali Hassan al-Majid, known as “Ali chemical”, had been hanged in 2010, particularly for the massacre of Halabja, which he claimed to have led to the security of Iraq.

Saddam Hussein, sentenced to death for the massacre of 148 villagers shiites, was hanged in 2006.

His death put an end to the prosecution against him for “genocide” for the death of about 180,000 Kurds –whose 5,000 in Halabja– as part of the “Anfal campaign” carried out by his regime in 1987 and 1988.