THE SYRIAN Intifada has simmered and effervesced intermittently for decades. On March 12 of this year, the revolutionary mood prevalent in the Middle East stirred the town of Qamishli to sedition anew.
Qamishli is the largest town in the Northern Hassake province of Syria. Many non-Arab inhabitants of that region, like Sunni Kurds and native Christian Assyrians, regard it as their communities’ secret capital. The city is renowned for throwing parades around Christmas time, and celebrating Newroz, a Kurdish spring festival, every year in March.
In March 2004, during a soccer match, hooligans started raising Kurdish flags and hailing U.S. President George W. Bush–who is perceived as liberator of the Kurds in neighboring Iraq. This triggered riots that gained momentum outside the stadium and led to what became known as the Qamishli Massacre. Thirty Kurds were killed by the security services.