Blank Maps: Accidentally stateless, part one: A Kurdish voice from Syria

By Tala El-Issa

Abdullah and Abdul Aziz are brothers living in Hasakah, a province in northern Syria. One of them is a Syrian citizen, the other is stateless.

On October 5, 1962, Abdullah was out watching his sheep in the countryside of Bakko, a village in Hasakah. Abdul Aziz stayed back. On any other day, their decisions would have been of no consequence, but the effect of what transpired that day would impart Abdul Aziz with citizenship and deprive his brother of basic rights.

The Syrian government conducted a one-day survey in Hasakah to determine which Kurds were from Syria and which ones migrated illegally following a series of revolts in Turkey. The survey left 120,000 Kurds without citizenship, a number that grew to 300,000 by 2011.

To hear more about the Kurds in Syria, listen to the first of a two-episode series from Sowt’s Blank Maps. The second episode will look at the case of Kurds after the 2011 revolution, when the Syrian government offered citizenship to Kurds living in northern Syria.

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