Iraq recognizes Halabja as its 19th governorate

File – The Martyrs Monument in Halabja

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — The Federal Government on Monday recognized the Kurdish city of Halabja as its 19th governorate.

The spokesperson to the Iraqi government, Basim Alawad, confirmed the decision that Halbaja has been formally recognized as the 19th governorate following an executive order.

In 2018, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) announced Halabja as a fourth governorate in Kurdistan.

In March 2021, the Iraqi parliament voted to oblige the federal government to complete the procedures required for establishing the Halabja governorate.

The decision comes as Halabja is set to commemorate the chemical attack on the city 35 years ago on Thursday carried out by former dictator Saddam Hussien.

On March 16, 1988, the Baath regime’s forces unleashed a cocktail of deadly gases on Halabja. Iraqi aircraft 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.

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