KDP President Barzani proposes establishing a research center of Feyli Kurds
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – President Masoud Barzani of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) proposed opening a research center on Feyli Kurds in the Kurdistan Region’s capital, Erbil.
Barzani’s suggestion came during a speech he delivered at the International Scientific Conference on the Genocide of the Kurdistan Nations (the genocide of Faily Kurds) in Erbil, with the participation of numerous Kurdish and Iraqi politicians, researchers, journalists, and foreign diplomats.
Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani and President Nechirvan Barzani also attended the three-day conference, which will host a range of panel discussions, presentation of research papers as well as policy recommendations on the Feylis.
The KDP leader proposed establishing a center tasked with following up on the affairs of the Feyli Kurds.
“The Feyli Kurds are an inseparable part of the Kurdish nation and have courageously resisted all attempts aimed at ethnic cleansing. Despite repeated attempts, they have been able to protect their identities and culture,” Barzani said.
The Feylis are ethnic Kurds and followers of the Shiite sect of Islam. The former Ba’athist regime in the early 1980s launched a systematic ethnic cleansing campaign, by firstly revoking their citizenship and later deporting the Feylis to Iran, accusing them of disloyalty to Iraq.
Between 10,000 to 20,000 young Feylis are estimated to have been killed by the former regime. Many Feylis, who are predominantly merchants and businesses, were also stripped of their properties and assets.
Barzani highlighted the “remarkable role” the members of the community played in the Kurdish revolutionary movement, led by the late General Mustafa Barzani in the last century.
Several important KDP organizations were run by notable Feylis, including the party’s women and youth union, as well as the KDP secretary.
The Kurdish leader recalled how the former dictatorial regime experimented with chemical weapons on nearly 300 Feyli Kurds in the Akashat area of Anbar province in 1981. The regime had similarly tested chemical weapons on 150 Barzani youths, Barzani added.
Barzani called on the Iraqi government to compensate the Feyli community for the moral and material damages sustained at the hands of the former regime.
Only a small number of Feylis were able to acquire Iranian citizenship after they were expelled from Iraq. Thousands of others spent years in displaced camps in Iran in dire economic conditions until the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003.