Friday, 17 June 2011, 10:33 GMT
Iraqi Kurds urge govt to back Syrian protesters

More than 1,200 protesters have been killed in Syria


The Kurds in Syria are not treated in a manner equal to that of other citizens

Several groups and well-known personalities in Iraq's Kurdish region have called on authorities to support the pro-democracy movement in Syria, in a joint statement on Wednesday.

"Silence in the face of the crimes committed in Syria is a disgrace and we call on the federal government of Iraq and in Kurdistan to support human rights, freedom and democracy in Syria because it is a moral duty," said the statement, published in Kurdistan's second biggest city Sulaimaniyah.

The statement was signed by 11 local organisations, including the Centre for Democratic Rights, and media and cultural personalities.
"We support Syrian citizens who aspire to freedom and a better life based on democracy and respect for human rights, and we condemn the Baathist regime, its savage repression and its crimes against humanity against peaceful demonstrators and the Syrian people," the statement said.

"The Kurds of Iraq have been victims of the brutality of the Baathist regime, and its desire to eliminate the Kurdish people, and in Syria today, the Kurds are not treated in a manner equal to that of other citizens."

The Baath party rose to power in 1963 in Syria and five years later in Iraq, where it was officially dissolved and banned after the 2003 US-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein.

Since March 15, more than 1,200 protesters have been killed and 10,000 have been arrested in pro-democracy rallies in Syria, according to activists.