Duhok Liberation Day in Iraqi Kurdistan Date in the current year: March 13, 2022

Duhok Liberation Day in Iraqi Kurdistan In 1991, a wave of popular uprisings swept through Iraq, resulting in the establishment of the Kurdish Autonomous Republic in Iraqi Kurdistan (a region in the north of the country mainly populated by Kurds). To commemorate these events, several observances are held in Iraqi Kurdistan. One of them is Duhok Liberation Day, which is observed annually on March 13.

Following Iraq’s defeat in the Gulf War of 1990–1991, a series of popular rebellions against Saddam Hussein’s regime broke out in northern and southern Iraq. The uprisings in the south were spontaneous and unorganized. Their participants were mostly members of anti-government groups, Shia Arab Islamists, and disillusioned soldiers. As there was no unity among the rebels, government forces quickly regained control over the south.

The rebellion in the north was another thing entirely. It was organized by Kurdish nationalists, Islamists and communists who had been struggling for the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan for decades. The uprising broke out on March 5, 1991 in Rania. On March 8, the Peshmerga (Kurdish militia forces) took control of the city of Sulaymaniyah, which was their first significant victory. After that, the rebels besieged the city of Duhok and captured it on March 13.

Unfortunately, the rebels managed to keep control over the cities they’d captured only for a couple of weeks. By the end of March, Saddam Hussein’s government forces had crushed the last uprisings in the south and moved north. On March 29, the Peshmerga lost control of Kirkuk. Duhok and Erbil surrendered to loyalist forces the following day.

Having regained their footing, the rebels launched a counteroffensive on July 20 to regain control over Duhok, Erbil and Sulaymaniyah. The confrontation between Kurdish nationalists and government forces lasted until October. Following a ceasefire, Kurds gained control over vast Kurdish-majority populated territories that are now an autonomous region within Iraq.

Alongside Duhok Liberation Day, there are other observances commemorating the 1991 uprisings in the official calendar of Iraqi Kurdistan. They include the 1991 Rebellion Anniversary (March 5), Sulaymaniyah Liberation Day (March 7), Kirkuk Liberation Day (March 20), and Sulaymaniyah City Fallen and Martyrs Day (June 13).

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Category

Anniversaries and Memorial Days

Country

Iraq

Tags

Duhok Liberation Day in Iraqi Kurdistan, holidays in Iraqi Kurdistan, observances in Iraqi Kurdistan, 1991 uprisings in Iraq