Live ammunition against the dancing celebrators
Three men died and at least five were injured when police opened fire at hundreds of Kurds celebrating their New Year “Newroz” on March 20, 2008. Eyewitnesses reported seeing Syrian Security Forces using live ammunition against the Kurdish youths. Shots were fired from two vehicles belonging to the security forces.
Mohammad Yahya Khalil, age 35, and Mohammad Zaki Ramadhan, age 25, were killed immediately. Faruq Mohammad Mahmood, age 18, died later from his injuries in hospital.
Five were injured, and several others were arrested. The US State Department condemned the killings on March 28.
One of the injured was:
Karam Ibrahim Yousef
Date of Birth:
Teacher assistant, Arabic Language, student at Aleppo University, Philosophy Faculty, third year.
He writes articles for blogs, electronic and printed newspapers. The Syrian Security Forces fired on him during the Newroz celebrations on March 20, 2008. Mr Yousef was shot in the head, while covering the celebrations by taking pictures. He is a poet and writes poems in Kurdish, his mother tongue. Mr Yousef was in a coma for 3 hours and still needs months off work to recover. His brother Aras Yousef was arrested the same night.
Defend International demands a thorough, empirical investigation of the use of excessive force against the celebrators.
“We want to stop the disregard of the Syrian government for the lives of its own citizens,” Defend International co-founder Dr. Widad said. “Civilians died and injured because someone gave the order to Syrian Security Forces to shoot at dancing celebrators” she added. “If the Newroz 2008 tragedy is not investigated, then what happened on that terrible day could happen again. The Syrian authorities are accountable for their actions”.