Assyrians in Europe took to the streets on Saturday, May 28 to protest
the ongoing Kurdish expropriation of Assyrian lands in North Iraq (AINA 2016-04-14).
Demonstrations were held in Gutersloh, Germany and in Stockholm and
Gothenburg in Sweden. The street protests were organized by the Assyrian
Confederation of Europe, an umbrella for the national Assyrian
federations in EU countries.
The issue of Kurdish land expropriation in Assyrian areas in North Iraq was recently highlighted by Human Rights Watch in a report
on the most recent case which took place in April this year in an area
called Nahla valley. Following a familiar pattern, an influential
Kurdish businessman with ties to the ruling Barzani clan started
building on Assyrian owned lands in the Nahla valley. When Assyrians of
the area tried to stage a protest outside the regional parliament in
Arbil they were met with armed peshmerga and Kurdish security known as
According to demonstrators, these land grabs are part of a
systematic campaign which aims to drive out the remaining Assyrians
from their ancestral homelands.
The Nahla Case
A Kurd named Ibrahim Hajji Yasin moved
into Nahla a few months ago and began seizing land in the village of
Zoly and moving livestock into it. He brought more than 200 cows into
the land. He also began constructing 3 homes.
Assyrian sources, Mr. Yasin is employed by Retha Zebari, a close
relative of Massoud Barzani, the president of the Kurdistan Regional
Nahla has eight Assyrian villages, Upper and Lower
Hezani, Belmand, Khalilane, Zoly, Kashkawa, Meroke and Rabatke. The land
of Nahla on parcels 89 and 90 includes Upper and Lower Hezani, Zoly and
Khalilane, and all the deeds in these villages are held by 117
Assyrians in a co-op. The deeds, most of which were granted before 1970,
have been recognized by the Iraqi Department of Agriculture and Iraqi