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1193 Mar 4
Saladin [Salah ed-Din]) Yusuf ibn Ayyub (52), Kurdish sultan of Egypt and Syria (1175-1193), died. Saladin led the Muslims against the Crusaders. He had reimposed Sunni orthodoxy in Egypt after routing the Fatimids, a dynasty of Ismaili Shias which had ruled for two centuries.
Links: Egypt, Syria, Kurds     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1915
Kurdish tribes took part in the mass slaughter by the Ottomans of around 1 million Armenians. Tens of thousands of Syriacs fell with them.
Links: Armenia, Turkey, Kurds     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1923 Jul 24
The Treaty of Lausanne, which settled the boundaries of modern Greece and Turkey, was concluded in Switzerland. It replaced the Treaty of Sevres and divided the lands inhabited by the Kurds between Turkey, Iraq and Syria. Article 39 allowed Turkish nationals to use any language they wished in commerce, public and private meetings, and publications. The treaty specifically protected the rights of the Armenian, Greek and Jewish communities. The former provinces of Baghdad, Basra and Mosul were lumped together to form Iraq. Both countries agreed to a massive exchange of religious minorities. Christians were deported from Turkey to Greece and Muslims from Greece to Turkey. A Muslim community of at least 100,000 was allowed in northern Greece. In 2006 Bruce Clark authored “Twice a Stranger: The Mass Expulsions that Forged Modern Greece and Turkey.”
Links: Armenia, Iraq, Turkey, Switzerland, Syria, Jews, Kurds     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1938
Turkey’s army crushed a rebellion in the southeastern province of Tunceli and villagers were burned alive of gassed. The government later admitted that some 15,000 Alevi Kurds died. Survivors spoke of least twice as many dead. In 2010 documentary titled ‘Two Locks of Hair: The Missing Girls of Dersim,’ which sheds light on the painful incidents of the 1938 Dersim Operation, four 80-year-old women tell of the trauma they experienced during the tragedy.
Links: Turkey, Kurds, Genocide     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1962 Jun 23
The Syrian government conducted a special population census only for the province of Jazira which was predominantly Kurdish. As a result, around 120,000 Kurds in Jazira were arbitrarily categorized as aliens.
Links: Syria, Kurds     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1970 Mar 11
Iraq’s Ba’ath Party agreed to an autonomy accord with the Kurd nation.
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1974 Mar 11
Iraq's "Law for Autonomy in the Area of Kurdistan" was promulgated. It stipulated that: "The Kurdish language shall be the official language of education for Kurds ... Kurdish shall be the official language of education for the Kurds."
Links: Iraq, Kurds, Language     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1975 Mar 6
OPEC held a meeting in Algiers attended for the first time by its members’ top leaders. Here the Algiers Accord between Baghdad and Teheran put an end to their border dispute and brought all Iranian help to the Kurdish rebellion to a halt. The United States abruptly withdrew its support for the Kurds and the rebellion collapsed. Many thousands of Kurdish fighters and their families were forced to flee to Iran to escape the pursuing Iraqi army.
Links: Algeria, Iraq, Oil, Iran, Kurds, OPEC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1975 Mar 9
Iraq launched an offensive against the rebellious Kurds.
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1975 Mar 18
Mulla Mustafa gave the order to the Kurdish army to abandon the struggle. This time round, Mulla Mustafa obtained refuge in the United States.
Links: Iraq, USA, Kurds     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1975 Jun
The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) broke off from the KDP after Iran and Iraq resolved a border dispute and the US ended support for a Kurdish rebellion. The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) was founded by Jalal Talabani as a breakaway faction of the KDP. The PUK favored armed struggle with other Kurdish groups against Saddam Hussein.
Links: Iraq, Iran, Kurds     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1978
In Turkey Abdullah Ocalan and some fellow Turkish university students founded the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, PKK. It was based on a Marxist, separatist platform that targeted Kurdish landlords as well as Turkish agents.
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1979 Mar 3
Mustafa Barzani (b.1903), Iranian Kurd leader (KDP), died in Washington, DC. He was succeeded by his son Massoud.
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1979 Aug 18
Iran Ayatollah Khomeini sent the army to attack and occupy Paveh, Sanandaj and Saghez. Having defeated the Kurds in the cities, he appointed Khalkhali, as head of security for Kurdistan, who proceeded with a series of summary trials and executions.
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1979 Aug 23
Iranian troops entered Iraqi Kurdish territory.
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1979 Aug 27
In Sanandaj, Iran, 11 Kurdish prisoners were executed by a firing squad following a 30 minute trial under Shiite cleric Sadegh Khalkhali. Jahangir Razmi, a photographer for Iran’s independent Ettela’at newspaper, captured the execution on film. Within hours an anonymous photo of the execution ran across 6 columns of the paper. On Sep 8 the newspaper was seized by the Foundation for the Disinherited, a state-owned holding company. On April 14, 1980, the photo won a Pulitzer Prize. In 2006 Razmi made public 27 images from the execution that he had kept hidden.
Links: Iran, Kurds, Photography     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1979
The government of Iran began fighting the Kurdish Democratic Party.
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1980
Government forces of Iraq began battling the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.
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1980
Abdullah Ocalan (b.1948) crossed the border to Syria just before the September 12 Turkish military coup.
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1980
1991
Publications in Kurdish were banned in Turkey.
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1983
Turkey began battling a Kurdish insurgency in the southeast.
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1984
Abdullah Ocalan, founder of the Kurdistan Worker’s party, PKK, turned the group toward armed struggle against the Turkish government.
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1987 Apr 16
Iraqi forces attacked the Kurdish villages of Basilan and Sheik Wasan. This is believed to be the first time Saddam's regime used chemical weapons on Iraqi citizens.
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1987 Aug 16
Iraqi warplanes bombarded the northern Kurdish village of Balisan, dropping bombs that spread a smoke smelling "like rotten apples.” Helicopters then came and bombed the mountains to prevent the villagers from taking refuge anywhere.
Links: Iraq, Kurds, Atrocities     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1988 Feb
1988 Sep
Some 50-100 thousand Kurds were killed by poisonous gas from Iraqi forces in the 8-stage Anfal campaign. The Hussein regime bulldozed some 4,000 ethnic Kurd villages due to suspicions of Kurds siding with Iran. Estimates held as many as 182,000 Kurds dead or missing.
Links: Iraq, Kurds     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1988 Mar 16
1988 Mar 17
Iraqi jets dropped a variety of chemical weapons on the Kurdish town of Halabja and some 5-7,000 residents were killed immediately. The Kurdish city of Halabja, held by Iranian troops and Iraqi Kurdish guerrillas allied with Tehran, was bombed by Iraq. Estimates of casualties varied from several hundred to several thousand.
Links: Iraq, Iran, Chemistry, Kurds     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1988 Mar 22
Iraqi jets dropped a variety of chemical weapons on the Kurdish town of Sewsenan, where militiamen had fled following attacks on Halabja.
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1988 Mar 28
Iraq used chemical weapons against Kurdish town of Halabja, killing estimated 5,000 civilians.
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1989 Jul 13
Abdul Rahman Qassemlu, Kurd leader in Iran, was murdered.
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1991 Mar 2
Shiite Muslims in southern Iraq and the Kurds rose up against Iraqi forces but were crushed by Iraqi armor that killed 50,000 and forced more than a million Kurds to flee to Turkey and Iran.
Links: Iraq, Turkey, Iran, Kurds     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1991 Apr 2
Iraqi state media reported that only a few more days were needed to stamp out fighting with Kurdish rebels, who reported renewed skirmishes around the strategic oil center of Kirkuk.
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1991 Apr 5
The UN adopted Resolution 688, which condemned Sadam Hussein’s suppression of the Kurds and demanded respect and political rights for all citizens. A safe haven was established above Iraq’s 36th parallel.
Links: Iraq, UN, Kurds     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1991 Apr 7
US military planes began airdropping supplies to Kurdish refugees who were facing starvation and exposure in the snow-covered mountains of northern Iraq. The United States warned Iraq not to interfere with the relief effort.
Links: Iraq, USA, Kurds     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1991 Apr 10
The US and Britain imposed a no-fly zone to protect 3 Kurdish provinces in northern Iraq.
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1991 Apr 12
Kurdish rebels reported the Iraqi army was attacking guerrillas in northern Iraq.
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1991 Apr 13
Speaking at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, President Bush warned Iraq the United States would "not tolerate any interference" with the international relief effort for Kurdish refugees.
Links: Iraq, USA, Kurds, BushHW     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1991 Apr 15
Turkey began moving thousands of Iraqi Kurds from a border settlement to camps farther inside Turkey, in a major policy shift for President Turgut Ozal’s government, which had previously kept the refugees in the mountains.
Links: Iraq, Turkey, Kurds     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1991 Apr 16
President Bush announced that US forces would be sent into northern Iraq to assist Kurdish refugees.
Links: Iraq, USA, Kurds, BushHW     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1991 Apr 20
US Marines landed in northern Iraq to begin building the first center for Kurdish refugees on Iraqi territory. General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, the US commander of Operation Desert Storm, left Saudi Arabia for home.
Links: Iraq, USA, Saudi Arabia, Kurds     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1991 Apr 21
US Marines in northern Iraq began building the first safe-haven settlement for Kurdish refugees. General H. Norman Schwarzkopf arrived at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida to a hero’s welcome.
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1991 Apr 24
A Kurdish rebel leader announced the guerrillas had reached an agreement in principle with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to end the Kurds’ two-week rebellion.
Links: Iraq, Kurds     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1991 Apr 27
A group of 250 Kurds became the first refugees to move into a new US-built camp in northern Iraq.
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1992 Sep
In Germany Sadiq Sarafkindi and three other exiled Iranian Kurdish dissidents were slain at the Mykonos restaurant in Berlin. In 1997 a German court concluded that the murders were sponsored by the top political leadership of Iran and orchestrated by a secretive "Committee for special Operations," and carried out by the Iranian Vevak security service.
Links: Germany, Iran, Kurds, Assassin     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1993 May 24
Separatist Kurdish rebels fatally shot 33 Turkish soldiers and two civilians after forcing them and about two dozen other persons off a bus in the southeastern province of Bingol. This ended a unilateral cease-fire and led the military to intensify a campaign to annihilate the PKK. Testimony in 1999 by Abdullah Ocalan said a regional PKK commander carried out the slaying.
Links: Turkey, Kurds     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1993 Jul 5
In eight separate incidents, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) kidnapped a total of 19 Western tourists traveling in southeastern Turkey. The hostages, including U.S. citizen Colin Patrick Starger, were released unharmed after spending several weeks in captivity.
Links: Turkey, Kurds     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1993
1996
Turkey spent $50 million on drug dealers and assassins to kill a Kurdish rebel leader and others considered threats to the state. Abdullah Ocalan, a Kurdish rebel leader in Syria, was targeted as was Dursun Karatas, a leftist terrorist in Europe.
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1994 Mar
In Turkey 33 Kurdish villagers killed in an air strike in two villages in the province of Sirnak near the Iraqi border. Turkish prosecutors later determined that the attack was carried out by PKK militants. An investigation in the attack was re-opened in 2013.
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1994 Jul 26
The Turkish air force bombed Kurds in Iraq and 79 people were killed.
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1994
1997
Iraqi Kurds in the east and west fought a fratricidal war.
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1996 May 16
UN and Iraqi officials reached a tentative agreement to resume oil sales of $4 billion a year to buy food and medicine. The oil for food program mandated that 13% of the UN resources go to northern Kurdish areas. In 2004 it was reported that illicit trade agreements with neighbors netted Iraq nearly $11 billion between 1990 and 2003. In 2004 the estimate for illicit trade was raised to $21.3 billion. In 2008 Michael Soussan authored “Backstabbing for Beginners: My Crash Course in International Diplomacy,” in which he tells of his 3-year close-up experience in the UN’s Oil for Food program beginning in 1997.
Links: Iraq, UN, Kurds     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1996 Jun 27
In Turkey thousands of troops poured into northern Iraq and killed dozens of separatist Kurds.
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1996 Jun 30
In Turkey a young Kurdish rebel disguised as a pregnant woman blew herself up in the midst of a military ceremony and killed 9 soldiers.
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1996 Jul 28
Turkey reached an agreement with prisoners to end a hunger strike after 12 inmates died. Elsewhere soldiers clashed with Kurds and 16 died along with 28 Kurdish rebels.
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1996 Aug 31
Rival Kurdish forces under leaders Jalal Talabani of the Patriotic Union and Massoud Barzani of the Kurdish Democratic Party clashed. Barzani’s forces participated with Sadam Hussein’s troops in taking Irbil, a Talabani stronghold. Talabani’s forces were reportedly assisted by Iran.
Links: Iraq, Iran, Kurds     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1996 Sep 1
A day after Iraqi forces moved into a Kurdish safe haven, U.S. officials were warning the Baghdad government that the incursion would not go unpunished. That same day, Iraq ordered its troops to withdraw from Irbil.
Links: Iraq, USA, Kurds     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
1996 Sep 2
The US launched cruise missiles at selected air defense targets in Iraq to discourage Sadam Hussein’s military moves against a Kurd faction.
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1996 Sep 3
1996 Sep 4
The United States launched 27 cruise missiles at "selected air defense targets" in Iraq as punishment for Iraq's invasion of Kurdish safe havens. Pres. Clinton extended the no-fly zone to the suburbs of Baghdad.
Links: Iraq, USA, Kurds     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1996 Sep 4
Anti-aircraft fire lit up the skies of Baghdad, hours after the United States fired a new round of cruise missiles into southern Iraq and destroyed an Iraqi radar site. The US again launched Tomahawk cruise missiles at Iraqi air defense sites. The 2nd launch was deemed a success after the first launch failed to destroy intended targets. The Tomahawks were made by Hughes Aircraft Co. and cost about $1 mil apiece. Kurdish leader Barzani wrote a latter to Sec. of State Christopher Warren and asked that the US mediate. 44 cruise missiles were launched over 2 days plus a rocket from an F-16 fighter.
Links: Iraq, USA, Kurds     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1996 Sep 5
Turkey declared a new security zone inside northern Iraq and air attacks were staged on suspected Kurdish rebel bases.
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1996 Sep 10
Saddam Hussein announced the lifting of all travel restrictions to or within the Kurdish zone.
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