Sirwan Massacre: 35 years since tragedy hits displaced Kurds in Halabja area
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The eight-year war between Iran and Iraq led to thousands of tragic stories. One of the bloodier episodes of the conflict was the Sirwan Massacre, in which hundreds of civilians were killed in the Kurdistan Region.
In the early morning of August 6, 1986, Iranian artilleries began shelling the Sirwan area of what is now Halabja province, located close to the Iran-Iraq border. Hundreds of families on that day flocked to unfinished buildings nearby to seek shelter from the falling bombs.
As the artillery campaign intensified, a number of the shells landed near the complexes sheltering Hawrami Kurds, who had been displaced to Sirwan by the Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein.
The explosions started a fire inside one of the storage rooms of the building. As the blaze engulfed the whole stone-walled building, 200 individuals, mostly women and children, were killed.
The victims were families displaced by the former Iraqi regime to Sirwan towards the end of the 1970s. Baghdad was then depopulating mountainous areas close to the border to set up a military outpost to fight the Kurdish Peshmerga forces.
Despite the lack of basic services, life for the small community began anew in Sirwan until the mass killing of 1986.
The building is now turned into a monument commemorating the tragic day, one of many in the eight-year war that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians.