Halabja turns into the fifth Kurdish Province
Last Thursday, Kurdish lawmakers held an irregular session in the city of Halabja to decide to turn it into the fifth Kurdish Province.
In a message to the people of Halabja, Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said that it is not an achievement to turn it into a Province, but it is a natural right of the people to have their own Province.
PM Barzani added: “Halabja is the symbol of resistance of our people.” It has been known as “Martyr of Kurdistan” by the people.
At the beginning of the session, the Parliament Speaker, Yusuf Mohammed, said that it is not only “historic” for the people of Halabja, but also for the people of Kurdistan as well.
In addition, he said that the legitimate institutions of the Kurdistan Regional Government ( KRG) decided to make Halabja into a Province.
Last year, President of Kurdistan Region, Massoud Barzani, signed a bill to turn it into a Province.
Official Spokesman of Iraqi Government, Saa’d Hadithi, said that the Iraqi cabinet has agreed to turn Halabja from city into Province in the country’s 2015 budget project.
Speaking on behalf of the Iraqi cabinet, Hadithi expressed his happiness about the decision.
Now, Halabja is the 19th Province in Iraq and the 5th Kurdish Province besides Erbil, Sulaimaniyah, Duhok and Kirkuk.
Yusuf Muhammed said that the decision will at least partially heal the wounds the city has been carrying for years. “The people of Halabja will run it by themselves and for themselves.”
On March 16, 1988, after two days of conventional artillery attacks, the Iraqi planes dropped gas canisters on the town. At least 5,000 people died as an immediate result of the chemical attack and it is estimated that a further 7,000 people were injured or suffered long term illnesses. Most of the victims were Kurdish civilians.
So far, Halabja with a population of 340,000 has been a district of Sulaimaniyah Province. It has had two representatives in the Provincial Council.