Celebrating Newroz in Rojava
Once forbidden in Syria by the oppressive Baath regime, Newroz is now openly being celebrated by the Kurdish people in Rojava (northern regions of Syria).
Before the Syrian uprising began in March 2011, Kurds went to Newroz celebrations knowing that security forces in one way or another would prevent them from celebrating. In 2008, 3 Kurds between the age of 20 to 25 were shot dead by Syrian security forces while 4 others were injured in the city of Qamişlo.
In 2010, at least 1 person was killed after security forces fired live ammunition into a crowd at a Newroz celebration in the city of ar-Raqqah; many more were arrested. On the same day, Kurds going to a Newroz in the province of Hasakeh were arrested.
There are more stories like these but despite the persecution of the Kurdish people, the Kurds still managed to uphold their cultural traditions and preserve their Kurdish identity and they continue to do so today in 2014. They have gathered in a war-torn country to remember what it is they are fighting for: freedom for the Kurdish people.