ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Kurdish government has strongly condemned what it called an “inhumane” chemical attack committed against the Syrian people in the northwestern city of Idlib, saying that the attack opened Kurdish wounds from the infamous chemical attack against the city of Halabja nearly three decades ago that killed 5,000 people.
“This crime has reminded us of all the wounds that were carried out against the nation of Kurdistan in the 1980s,” a statement from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said, naming the Halabja chemical attack as a signature of the former Baathist Iraqi regime, the worst chemical attack ever carried out against a civilian population in history.
“If the international community did not choose to stay silent and we took necessary steps, this could have become a factor not to let this crime be repeated again,” the statement continued as it lamented the fact that the world did not act then to take actions against the Iraqi regime.
“We strongly condemn this crime and we express our sympathy with the relatives of the victims of this inhumane act,” it read.
Overnight, the US launched 59 missiles on a Syrian airbase in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapon attack that killed dozens of civilians, including many children. US President Donald Trump said there was no doubt Assad was responsible for the attack.
Damascus has denied using chemical weapons.
The KRG said that it supports US strikes against the Syrian regime, raising hopes that this may help prevent Damascus from ever carrying out chemical attacks against its citizens.
“We hope that this step taken by the American forces to prevent and respond to this inhumane act will become a factor to stop crimes like this from being repeated,” the KRG said.
The Halabja Chemical Victims Society, which represents the survivors and victims of the 1988 attack, condemned the Idlib suspected chemical weapon attack on Wednesday.
Kawa Ali, Halabja Deputy Governor, said in a statement that they are receiving foreign dignitaries on a regular basis who visit the city’s war museum that showcases the chemical attack.
“As they look at the scenes from the Halabja chemical attack, they shed tears of sadness,” Ali noted. “We tell the world from here that tears are not enough, neither for Halabja, nor Khan Sheikhoun, but that the world has to be in agreement to forbid chemical weapons,” he said making reference to the site of the Idlib attack.
Halabja is a member of a network of world cities calling for the abolishment of weapons of mass destruction, including the Japanese Hiroshima and Nagasaki who fell victim to a nuclear bomb attack by the US at the end of the World War Two.