A Kurdish woman walks amongst the graves, of those killed in the Halabja Chemical attack in 1988, during a march to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the attack in the Kurdish town, northeast of Baghdad on March 16, 2023. Shwan MOHAMMED / AFP
The Kurdistan Region on Wednesday commemorated Saddam Hussein’s chemical attack on Halabja which killed thousands of people, mostly women and children.
On March 16, 1988, the Baath regime’s forces unleashed a cocktail of deadly gases on Halabja. Iraqi aircrafts attacked the city with chemical weapons killing some 5,000 people and injuring thousands more.
The genocide was one of many horrific crimes committed by the Baath regime under Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship against the Kurdistan Region’s people.
The Halabja victims were among some 180,000 people killed during the regime’s “Anfal campaign” against the Kurds.
The attack still haunts Halabja as its residents, now estimated at around 200,000, still fight for justice, care for the ill and hunt for missing relatives.
In a statement on the anniversary of the chemical attack on Halabja, Bafel Jalal Talabani, the President of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, said that the government has been irresponsible, but this negligence towards the people of Halabja must not continue.
“It is time to move beyond catchphrases and into deeds in serving Halabja and its people, and we must provide these services in appreciation for the valued citizens' sacrifice and sovereignty,” Bafel Jalal Talabani said.
On March 13, 2018, a total of 5,500 relatives of victims sued 25 European companies and individuals, including Iraqis, who they say aided Saddam’s regime in developing its chemical weapons stockpile.