Halabja

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Halabja
Kurdish: هەڵەبجە
Arabic: حلبجة
City
Halabja city
Halabja city
Halabja is located in Iraqi Kurdistan
Halabja
Halabja
Halabja is located in Iraq
Halabja
Halabja
Halabja in Iraq
Coordinates: 35°11′11″N 45°58′26″E / 35.18639°N 45.97389°E / 35.18639; 45.97389
Country  Iraq
Autonomous region  Kurdistan[1]
Governorate Halabja
Established 1650 AD
Government
 • Governor Ali Osman Ali [2]
Area
 • Total 1,599 km2 (617 sq mi)
Elevation 721 m (2,365 ft)
Population (2013)
 • Total 200,000
Time zone UTC+3

Halabja (Kurdish: هه‌ڵه‌بجه‎ Hełebce) is a city in Iraqi Kurdistan and the capital of Halabja Governorate, located about 240 km (150 mi) northeast of Baghdad and 14 km (9 mi) from the Iranian border.

The city lies at the base of what is often referred to as the greater Hewraman region stretching across the IranIraq border. Halabja is surrounded by Hawraman and Shnrwe range in the northeast, Balambo range in the south and Sirwan river in the west. The Kurds in the city of Halabja generally speak only the Sorani dialect of Kurdish, but some residents of the surrounding villages speak the Hewrami dialect.

History

Early history

Halabja has a long history, as proven bij excavations at nearby archaeological sites like Bakr Awa. The cemetery includes the tombs of several historical figures, such as Ahmed Mukhtar Jaf, Tayar Bag Jaf and Adila Khanim. In August 2009, three 17th century tombs were discovered in the Ababile district of the town.[3]

This suggests that the town is somewhat older than indicated by some sources, which claim that it was built by the Ottoman Empire at about 1850. However, modern developments date from the early 20th century. The post office opened in 1924 and the first school opened the following year. The Qaysari Pasha and Hamid Bag bazaars were built in 1932. Electricity did not reach the city until 1940.[4]

At the beginning of the 20th century, there were many British soldiers stationed in Halabja. During World War I, Adela Khanum saved the lives of several British soldiers, resulting in the British honoring her with the title Khan Bahadur, Princess of the Brave. She was also responsible for the building of a new prison, setting up a court of justice, of which she was the first president and building a new bazaar.[5]

Chemical attack

The Kurdish peshmerga guerrillas, supported by Iran, liberated Halabja in the final phase of the Iran–Iraq War. At 11:00 AM, On March 16, 1988, after two days of conventional artillery attacks, Iraqi planes dropped gas canisters on the town.[6][7] The town and surrounding district were attacked with bombs, artillery fire and chemical weapons, the last of which proved most devastating. At least 5,000 people died as an immediate result of the chemical attack and it is estimated that a further 7,000 people were injured or suffered long term illness.[8] Most of the victims of the attack on the town of Halabja were Kurdish civilians.[9]

The attack is believed to have included the nerve agents Tabun, Sarin and VX, as well as mustard gas. Though, according to the former senior CIA analyst Stephen C. Pelletiere, Iraq did not have the nerve agent used in the attack, but did have mustard gas which was used in the Iran–Iraq War. It is occasionally suggested[10] that cyanide was also included among these chemical weapons, though this assertion has been cast into doubt, as cyanide is a natural byproduct of impure Tabun.[11] The attack on Halabja took place amidst the infamous Anfal campaign, in which Saddam Hussein violently suppressed Kurdish revolts during the Iran–Iraq War.

Before the war ended the Iraqis moved in on the ground and completely destroyed the town.[12] In March 2010, the Iraqi High Criminal Court recognized the Halabja massacre as genocide; the decision was welcomed by the Kurdistan Regional Government.[13]

Kurdish autonomy

In the mountains to the west of Halabja, a militant Islamist group, Ansar al-Islam, occupied a small enclave in the period of 2000–2003. The area was overrun by Peshmerga forces from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), with U.S. air support, at the beginning of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The town has remained a center of Islamism in the Kurdistan region, however.

Just before Kurds gained some autonomy over the Iraqi Kurdistan region in 1991, which included Halabja, a new town was set up where some former Kurdish refugees later relocated. The new town called Halabja Taza (or New Halabja) today has an estimated 9,000 homes.[14]

The Kurdistan Regional Government made some concentrated reconstruction efforts after 2003 in the old town and began rebuilding some of the bombed-out homes in Halabja and paving new roads. A memorial was also constructed for the victims of the chemical attacks. However, residents of Halabja have complained about the continued lack of basic services and necessities.[15]

On the 2006 anniversary of the gas attack, violent demonstrations erupted in Halabja. An estimated 7,000 demonstrators protested against priorities in reconstruction, claiming that officials were not sincerely addressing the problems of the gas attack victims. Road blocks were set up and the gas attack memorial museum was set afire. Police fired at protesters killing one 14-year-old boy and wounding many others.[16]

2017 earthquake

On 12 November 2017 at 21:18 local time, an earthquake struck approximately 32 kilometres (20 mi) south-southwest of Halabja.[17]

Climate

Halabja has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Csa) with very hot summers and cool wet winters.

Climate data for Halabja
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 9.6
(49.3)
11.8
(53.2)
16.9
(62.4)
22.0
(71.6)
29.5
(85.1)
35.8
(96.4)
39.6
(103.3)
39.2
(102.6)
35.0
(95)
28.4
(83.1)
19.7
(67.5)
12.5
(54.5)
25.0
(77)
Daily mean °C (°F) 4.8
(40.6)
6.6
(43.9)
11.2
(52.2)
15.8
(60.4)
22.0
(71.6)
27.4
(81.3)
31.2
(88.2)
30.8
(87.4)
26.4
(79.5)
20.5
(68.9)
13.3
(55.9)
7.3
(45.1)
18.1
(64.6)
Average low °C (°F) 0.1
(32.2)
1.4
(34.5)
5.6
(42.1)
9.7
(49.5)
14.5
(58.1)
19.0
(66.2)
22.8
(73)
22.5
(72.5)
17.9
(64.2)
12.7
(54.9)
7.0
(44.6)
2.2
(36)
11.3
(52.3)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 144
(5.67)
146
(5.75)
132
(5.2)
85
(3.35)
35
(1.38)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
28
(1.1)
79
(3.11)
124
(4.88)
773
(30.44)
Source: [18]

Today

In 2008, plans were announced to construct an international airport for the city.[19]

In June 2013, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) recognized Halabja as a new governorate in the territory of Kurdistan region.[20] On January 1, 2014, The Iraqi Cabinet agreed to make Halabja the nation's nineteenth province.[20] On 13 March 2014, Halabja was officially approved by the KRG, as the fourth province in Kurdistan.

See also

References

  1. ^ http://krg.org/articles/detail.asp?lngnr=12&smap=03010300&rnr=140&anr=23911
  2. ^ http://www.milletpress.com/Detail_EN.aspx?Jiamre=1521&T=New%20Governor%20Appointed%20for%20Sulaimani%20and%20Halabja,%20as%20Part%20of%20PUK-Gorran%20Agreement
  3. ^ "Ancient tombs found in Halabja". AK News. 9 August 2008. Archived from the original on 21 August 2009. Retrieved 7 September 2009. 
  4. ^ "History of Halabja". PUK media. 2009-03-16. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  5. ^ "Adela Khanum – Princess of the Brave". Kurdistan's Women. 2008-04-04. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  6. ^ http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/15032017
  7. ^ "1988: Thousands die in Halabja gas attack". BBC News. 1988-03-16. Retrieved 2010-05-04. 
  8. ^ Osman, Hiwa (March 17, 2002). "Iraqi Kurds recall chemical attack". BBC News. Retrieved 2006-08-05. 
  9. ^ "Whatever Happened To The Iraqi Kurds?". Human Rights Watch. March 11, 1991. 
  10. ^ "Facts About Cyanide". Centers for Disease Control. Archived from the original on 15 April 2010. 
  11. ^ "Iraq events – Chemical warfare". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-05-04. 
  12. ^ Hirst, David (March 22, 1988). "The Kurdish victims caught unaware by cyanide". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2006-06-09. 
  13. ^ AK News, 1 March 2010 Archived 20 March 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ Dagher, Sam. Uprooted for Decades, Iraqi Kurds Long for Home. Halabja Taza Journal. NY Times, 3 September 2009
  15. ^ "Mohammad, Susan. Revisiting the horror of Halabja. The Ottawa Citizen, 22 October 2007". canada.com. Archived from the original on 12 April 2009. 
  16. ^ "BBC NEWS – Middle East – Kurdish clash at Halabja memorial". bbc.co.uk. 
  17. ^ "M 7.3 - 30km SW of Halabjah, Iraq". earthquake.usgs.gov. Retrieved 12 November 2017. 
  18. ^ "Climate statistics for Halabja". Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 21 January 2017. 
  19. ^ "International Airport to be built in Halabja town ( K Sat)". Independent Kurdistan Journalism. 2008-07-16. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  20. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 January 2014. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 

External links

Media related to Halabja at Wikimedia Commons

  • Iraq Image – Halabja Satellite Observation

Coordinates: 35°11′N 45°59′E / 35.183°N 45.983°E / 35.183; 45.983

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