Qamishli

© Syrian Revolution Memory Project, Flickr

© Syrian Revolution Memory Project, Flickr

Qamishli, (also known as Al Qamishli, Qamishliye, or Qamişlo in Kurdish) is a city on the Turkish-Syrian border in the Kurdish region of Syria. The city is the de-facto capital of the Jazira (Cizre) Canton of Rojava, the Kurdish region of Syria. However, as there are government troops that still hold parts of the city, administrative functions of the canton are held outside of town.

History of Al Qamishli

Al Qamishli was originally founded by Kurdish, Assyrian and Armenian refugees fleeing genocide around the turn of the 20th century.[1] Today, Qamishli is home to Sunni Kurds, Sunni Muslims, Christians, and Jews. Qamishli is the seat of both an Armenian and a Syrian Catholic archbishopric.[2]

Population estimates for Qamishli are not accurate, but was around 200,000 in 2004. The population has likely risen since the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War in 2011, as the city has always been a home for refugees, and this war is no exception.

The economy enjoys relative prosperity from nearby oil fields, and fertile land. At one time, Qamishli was connected to the Syrian Railway, but the conflict against the self-styled Islamic State (IS) has put rail transport on a hiatus.

Qamishli and Kobane are considered to be the unofficial centers of the Syrian Kurdish movement.[3] Syrian Kurdistan, or Rojava, is politically represented by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and militarily by the People’s Protection Units (YPG).

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