Al Qamishli

Al Qamishli

Infobox Settlement
name =Al Qamishli
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native_name = القامشلي
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imagesize = 300px
image_caption = The city of Qamishli

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pushpin_label_position =bottom
pushpin_map_caption =Location in Syria
pushpin_mapsize =300
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = flag|Syria
subdivision_type1 = Governorate
subdivision_name1 = Al Hasakah Governorate
subdivision_type2 = District
subdivision_name2 = Al Qamishli District
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population_as_of =2008
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population_total =83,000
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timezone = EET
utc_offset = +2
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latd=37|latm=03|lats= |latNS=N
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area_code = 53|53
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Qamishli (Arabic: القامشلي, Syriac:ܩܡܫܠܝ, ܩܡܫܠܐ or Beth-Zalin ܒܝܬ ܙܠܝܢ, Kurdish: Qamişlo) is a city in northeastern Syria on the border with Turkey (city of Nusaybin) and close to Iraq. It belongs to Al Hasakah governorate in the Al Qamishli District and is the center of an administrative district.


The roots of the name "Qamishli" maybe originally traced to languages spoken in ancient Southwest Asia during the Bronze Age, like the name of the Hittite/Mitanni city of Carchemish (KarKamish). The word Qamishli seems to have been Turkicized to mean "with reed".


Al Qamishli, in modern times, is of mixed ethnic groups, predominantly Kurdish [Inheriting Syria: Bashar's Trial by Fire, p 190, Flynt Leverett, 286 pages, published 2005, ISBN 0815752040] , Aramean-Syriacs and Arabs. [ [ Qamishli ] ] The Christians of the city who are indigenous to the area mainly consist of Syriacs and Armenians. The city's population grew with the arrival of Syriacs fleeing the Syriac genocide in modern Turkey Fact|date=June 2008 and the city was also founded by Syriac. Today Kurds, Syriacs, Arabs, and Armenians live side by side in the city. The city is populated by around 50.000 inhabitant, while the city and its suburbs and the Qamishli district is inhabited by up to 200.000 Syrians.

Al Qamishli was also home to a significant Jewish community. In the 1930s the Jewish population of Al Qamishli numbered 3000. After 1947 the situation of the Jews of Al Qamishli deteriorated. All Jews employed in government offices were sacked. Many Jewish women were imprisoned and beaten with the approval of the authorities. By 1963 the community had dwindled to 800 persons, and after the Six-Day War it went down further to 150. The remaining Jewish community is subjected to a daily curfew at sundown. [ [ שכן נאסר עליהם ליצור מגע עם זרים ועליהם לשוב לבתיהם עם שקיעת החמה. "They are forbidden to have contact with foreigners and they must return home by sundown."] ] [ [ Report in Hamodia: יהודי קמישלי מצויים במעצר בית ואינם מורשים לעזוב את העיר, אפילו לצרכי ריפוי דחוף "The Kamishli Jews are under house arrest and are forbidden to leave the town, even for urgent medical reasons."] ] [ [ American Thinker] ]

In New York, former Qamishli Jews maintain "Ribbi Yehuda ben Betera Congregation" at 2296 Coney Island Avenue (Rabbi Marco Nakash).


Qamishli is situated at the base of the Taurus Mountains, located near the area of ancient Hurrian city of Urkesh which was founded during the fourth millennium BC.

The modern city was founded in 1926 as a railway station on the Taurus railway." [ Al-Qamishli] " - Encyclopædia Britannica, 2006.]

Qamishli is the largest town in Hassake province and it is regarded as the secret capital of the Kurds, the Syriacs also claim it to be their community capital. It is also the centre of the Syrian Kurdish problem. [ [ - The Kurds of Syria - An Insecure Stone in the Syrian Mosaic ] ]

In March 2004, during a chaotic soccer match, few Kurds start a riot raising separatist Kurish flags, hailing Barzani and Talabani and Bush turning the match to political conflict. The riot expanded out of the stadium and weapons haven been used against police and civilians of non-Kurdish background. Priavte properties and national offices were burned out by the rioters, which drive the security forces to react vigorously and kill more than 15 of the rioters and wound more than 100 [ [ Photos from the 2004 Kurdish riot in Al-Qamishli, Syria] ] . Officials in Qamishli alleged that some Kurdish parties were collaborating with "foreign forces" to annex some villages in the area to northern Iraq [cite news | first = Albert | last = Aji | coauthors = (Associated Press)
title = Tension unabated after riots in Syria | url = | publisher = The Boston Globe
date = March 16, 2004 | language = Eng
] , [ [ Rights group calls on Syria to investigate death of three Kurds in shooting - International Herald Tribune ] ] [ [ Syria: Address Grievances Underlying Kurdish Unrest] , HRW, March 19, 2004.] . Events climaxed when Kurds in Qamishli toppled a statue of the PresidentHafez al-Assad. The Syrian army responded quickly, deploying thousands of troops backed by tanks and helicopters. At least 30 Kurds were killed as the security services re-took the city [cite news | first = | last = | author = James Brandon | title = The PKK and Syria's Kurds | url = | publisher = Terrorism Monitor, "The Jamestown Foundation" | location = Washington, DC 20036, USA | page = Volume 5, Issue 3 | date = February 15, 2007]

Still the tension re-occurring and remembered by Kurds every Newroz causing curfew and strict control by police in areas were Kurds want to revive the riot memory. In June 2005, thousands of Kurds demonstrated in Qamishli to protest Sheikh Khaznawi's assassination, a welknown Kurdish cleric in Syria, which resulted in killing of one policeman and four Kurds injured. [ [ - A murder stirs Kurds in Syria ] ] [ [ Kurds, Emboldened by Lebanon, Rise Up in Tense Syria - New York Times ] ] . In March 2008, according to Human Rights Watch Fact|date=June 2008, Syrian security forces opened fire at Kurds celebrating spring festival of Newroz and gathering for reviving the 2004 riot in Qamishli. The shooting left three people dead.

The city is renowned for throwing a large Christmas parade every year in December, and celebrating Newroz festival by a large crowd every year in March.


Al Qamishli has recently experienced an economic boom due to the exploration of petroleum in the Qarah Shuk region 80 km east of Al Qamishli. Fact|date=June 2008


It has an international airport, Kamishly Airport, with IATA code KAC.

ee also

* Kurds of Syria
* Assyrians and Syriacs in Syria


External links

* [ Kurds in Qamishli]
* [ Community for youth from Qamishli]
* [ WebSite]

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