The will of nation much stronger than any weapon, crimes of genocide: KDP President Barzani

KDP President Barzani's message honored the memory of those affected by the chemical attacks, emphasizing the indomitable spirit of the Kurdish nation in the face of adversity.
KDP President Masoud Barzani. (Photo: via Barzani HQ and designed by Kurdistan 24)
KDP President Masoud Barzani. (Photo: via Barzani HQ and designed by Kurdistan 24)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – KDP President Masoud Barzani marked the 37th anniversary of the chemical attacks on Balisan, Sheikh Wasanan, and Doli Khoshnawti with a message reaffirming the resilience of the Kurdish nation against oppression.

KDP President Barzani's message, issued on Tuesday, April 16, 2024, honored the memory of those affected by the chemical attacks, emphasizing the indomitable spirit of the Kurdish nation in the face of adversity.

"The will of the people of Kurdistan is indeed much stronger than any weapon and any act of genocide," President Barzani stated, paying tribute to the martyrs of the chemical attacks perpetrated by the former Iraqi regime.

Thirty-seven years have passed since the Ba'ath regime's first chemical attack on Kurdistan, targeting Balisan, Sheikh Wasan, and surrounding villages in the Khoshnawti Valley of Erbil province. The attack claimed the lives of over 1,000 innocent civilians.

President Barzani stated that, “I convey my heartfelt salutes to the souls of the martyrs of this despicable crime and to all of the martyrs of Kurdistan.”

The evening of April 16, 1987, marked the tragic onset of chemical warfare in the region, with devastating consequences for countless men, women, and children. Subsequent atrocities included the abduction and massacre of wounded citizens seeking medical aid in Erbil hospitals, highlighting the regime's brutality.

The chemical assault on the Khoshnawti Valley extended its reach to several villages, including Sheikh Wasan, Kani Bard, Berawe, Shira, Xate, Malakan, Darash and Balisan, resulting in the loss of 263 lives and injuries to 800 others.

In remembrance of the victims and as a testament to resilience, the Kurdistan Parliament designated April 16 as Kurdistan Environment Day. Each year, government institutions and citizens honor this day through environmental initiatives, such as tree planting and conservation efforts.

KDP President Barzani reiterated the Kurdistan Regional Government's commitment to upholding constitutional obligations for disaster relief and compensation for victims of Ba'ath regime atrocities, underscoring the importance of justice and recognition for those affected.

According to Articles 112 and 132 of the Iraqi permanent constitution, the federal government, as the successor of the former Iraqi regime, is mandated to develop areas affected by disasters and compensate victims of the Ba'ath regime. The Kurdistan Regional Government is adamant about enforcing these constitutional articles.

The chemical attacks on Balisan, Sheikh Wasanan, and Khoshnawti Valley represent a dark chapter in Kurdistan's history, characterized by the Ba'ath regime's systematic persecution of Kurdish civilians. The anniversary serves as a solemn reminder of the resilience of the Kurdish people and the ongoing quest for justice and remembrance.