TURKEY

President Erdoğan marks 31th anniversary of Halabja massacre

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Saturday marked the 31st anniversary of the Halabja Massacre in which thousands of Kurds were killed and injured by the Baath regime of Saddam Hussein in northeastern Iraq.

In a Twitter post, Erdoğan said the chemical attack on Kurdish-populated Iraqi city of Halabja is still a fresh "wound."

"The wound opened in the conscience of humanity when thousands of civilians were killed by a chemical attack in Halabja 31 years ago maintains its freshness today.

"I wish God's mercy for our Kurdish brothers who lost their lives in the Halabja Massacre which went down on history as a black mark," Erdoğan said.

On March 16, 1988, between 5,000 and 7,000 Kurds are estimated to have been killed during the Iran-Iraq war when forces loyal to Saddam Hussein dropped toxic Mustard and Sarin gases on Halabja.

Thousands of others died of complications, illnesses and birth defects in the following years. Many Halabja residents still suffer the physical effects of the attacks.

In Halabja, 5,000 balloons were released to mark the 5,000 victims of the attack.

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