Armenians During Saddam Reign

The Armenians obeyed the law under Saddam Hussein. When the Kurds of Zakho fled to avoid military service, the Armenians went to fight for Saddam. Three Armenian soldiers from Zakho died during Allied air attack in 1991—in Kuwait, Basra and Mosul. More than 130 Armenians from the town were killed in the eight-year war between Iraq and Iran. The Kurdish revolt did not bring the Kurdish and Armenian communities in Zakho any closer. When the Kurds returned to the town under U.S. protection, they found that the Armenians had not left their homes. “They thought we had taken the side of the government,” an Armenian said. “They didn’t understand that we could not afford to rebel. We are too few.” Several Armenian families fled to the mountains when the Kurdish rebellion collapsed. Four Armenian babies were among the hundreds who died on the Turkish border, sharing their graves with the descendants of those who had massacred their great-grandparents.

The Armenians obeyed the law under Saddam Hussein. When the Kurds of Zakho fled to avoid military service, the Armenians went to fight for Saddam. Three Armenian soldiers from Zakho died during Allied air attack in 1991—in Kuwait, Basra and Mosul. More than 130 Armenians from the town were killed in the eight-year war between Iraq and Iran. The Kurdish revolt did not bring the Kurdish and Armenian communities in Zakho any closer. When the Kurds returned to the town under U.S. protection, they found that the Armenians had not left their homes. “They thought we had taken the side of the government,” an Armenian said. “They didn’t understand that we could not afford to rebel. We are too few.” Several Armenian families fled to the mountains when the Kurdish rebellion collapsed. Four Armenian babies were among the hundreds who died on the Turkish border, sharing their graves with the descendants of those who had massacred their great-grandparents.

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