Competing senses of liberation, dread rule in Kurdish areas of Syria

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BY DAVID ENDERS

McClatchy Newspapers

AMMOUDA, SYRIA — The only place in the predominantly Kurdish city of Ammouda that’s still flying the Syrian flag is the police station, but people here say it means little.

“There are only two police officers, and they stay inside and keep the door closed,” said Abdel Ila Awja, a resident.

Gone from this city near the border with Turkey are the statues of Syria’s president, Bashar Assad, and of his father, Hafez, who ruled before him.

Fighters from the United Democratic Party, a Kurdish militia, man a former Syrian military checkpoint at the entrance to the city.

Pictures of Kurds who were killed while fighting for Kurdish independence in Iraq and Turkey hang from the streetlights. There are also posters of Abdullah Ocalan, the founder of another Kurdish militia, the Kurdistan Workers Party, which has carried on a 30-year guerrilla war against the Turkish government. Ocalan has been in a Turkish prison since 1998.

 

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