Afrin, Syria

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Afrin
عفرين
Efrîn
view of Afrin  (2009 photograph)
view of Afrin (2009 photograph)
Afrin is located in Syria
Afrin
Afrin
Coordinates: 36°30′30″N 36°52′9″E / 36.50833°N 36.86917°E / 36.50833; 36.86917
Country  Syria
Governorate Aleppo
District Afrin
Subdistrict Afrin
Elevation 270 m (890 ft)
Population (2004 census)[1]
 • Total 36,562
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Website Official website

Afrin (Arabic: عفرين‎‎ / ALA-LC: ʿAfrīn or ʿIfrīn; Kurdish: Efrîn‎) is a district as well as a city in northern Syria. As a district (mantiqah) of the Syrian Arab Republic, it is part of the Aleppo Governorate. However, since 2012, the Syrian government has lost control of the district, and as the capital of Afrin Canton (Kurdish: Kantona Efrînê‎) it is now part of the de facto autonomous region of Rojava. The total population of the district as of 2005 was recorded at 172,095 people, of whom 36,562 lived in the town of Afrin itself. The town and district are named for the Afrin River. The town of Afrin is located next to a bridge of the Aleppo road. The city is split into two distinct halves by the river.

Afrin is the administrative center of Nahiya Afrin of the Afrin District.

History[edit]

About 8 km south of the town of Afrin, there are the remains of a Neo-Hittite (Iron Age) settlement known as Tell Ain Dara. The Afrin valley was part of Roman Syria, until the Muslim conquest in 637.[2] The Afrin river was known as Oinoparas in the Seleucid era, in the Roman era the name became Ufrenus, whence the Arab vernacular ʿAfrīn, ʿIfrīn, adopted as Kurdish Efrîn.

The area was briefly conquered by the Principality of Antioch, but again came under Muslim rule in 1260 following the Mongol invasions. In the Ottoman period, the area was part of the Kilis Province.

Although it is not contiguous with the main area of Kurdish settlement, the Afrin valley seems to have seen Kurdish settlement by at least the 18th century, as by that time it is referred to as the Sancak of the Kurds in Ottoman documents.[3]

Modern era[edit]

With the drawing of the Syria–Turkey border in 1923, Afrin became detached from Kilis Province and was part of French-administrated Syria (i.e. the State of Aleppo, State of Syria (1924–30), Syrian Republic (1930–58)) and was eventually incorporated in modern Syria at the state's formation in 1958/61.

The town of Afrin originated in the 19th-century foundation as a market. In 1929, the number of permanent residents was merely 800, growing to 7,000 by 1968. The town was developed by France under the French mandate of Syria. The main square is Afrin bus station, and the old settlement area stretches northward on the slope of a hill, but more recently habitations have spread to the other side of the river and extend as far to the south-east as the neighboring village of Turandah.

Since the Turkish annexation of Hatay Province in 1939, the Afrin district has been surrounded by the Syria–Turkey border at most of its circumference, apart from the border with the Azaz District to the east and a short border with the Mount Simeon District to the southeast.

There was an outbreak of civil unrest on 21 March 1986, during which three people were killed by the police. In 1999, the arrest of Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan triggered renewed clashes between Kurdish protesters and the Syrian police.

Establishment of Afrin Canton[edit]

Main article: Afrin Canton
A PYD checkpoint in Afrin (August 2012 photograph)
The frontline situation near Afrîn as of June 2013 shows the district under Kurdish (YPG) control, with adjacent territory controlled by the Free Syrian Army (green), with a loyalist pocket at Nubl (Azaz District).

During the Syrian Civil War, Syrian government forces withdrew from the city during the summer of 2012. The Popular Protection Units (commonly known as YPG) took control of the city soon afterward.[4][5][6]

Afrin Canton as a de facto autonomous part of Syrian Kurdistan was declared on 29 January 2014.[7][8] The administrative center of Afrîn Canton is the town of Afrîn.[9] The Prime minister of Afrin Canton is Hevi Ibrahim. Most of the people who live in Afrin Canton are Kurds. The local government feels threatened by Nusra Front in the Syrian Civil War.[10] According to the Constitution of Rojava, the Afrîn Canton's Legislative Assembly on its 29 January 2014 session declared autonomy. The assembly elected Hêvî Îbrahîm Mustefa prime minister, who appointed Remzi Şêxmus and Ebdil Hemid Mistefa her deputies.[11]

Education[edit]

In August 2015, the University of Afrin started teaching, with initial programs in literature, engineering and economics, including institutes for medicine, topographic engineering, music and theater, business administration and the Kurdish language.[12]

Economy[edit]

Olive tree is symbol of Afrin. Afrin is a major production center for olives. Olive oil pressing and textiles are some of the city's local industries.

Climate[edit]

Afrin has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate with influences of a continental climate during winter with hot dry summers and cool wet and occasionally snowy winters. The average high temperature in January is 9 and the average high temperature in July is 34. The snow falls usually in January, February or December. Afrin is characterized abundant rain in winter months. The yearly rainfall ranges between 500 and 600 mm and the average rate of humidity is 61%. Afrin has a moderate climate and is surrounded by olive trees.

Climate data for Afrin
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 18
(64)
22
(72)
26
(79)
35
(95)
41
(106)
41
(106)
43
(109)
46
(115)
42
(108)
38
(100)
28
(82)
21
(70)
46
(115)
Average high °C (°F) 9
(48)
12
(54)
16
(61)
22
(72)
26
(79)
29
(84)
34
(93)
34
(93)
28
(82)
25
(77)
17
(63)
11
(52)
21.9
(71.5)
Daily mean °C (°F) 6
(43)
8
(46)
11
(52)
16
(61)
20
(68)
24
(75)
28
(82)
28
(82)
23
(73)
20
(68)
13
(55)
8
(46)
17.1
(62.6)
Average low °C (°F) 2
(36)
4
(39)
7
(45)
11
(52)
15
(59)
19
(66)
22
(72)
22
(72)
18
(64)
15
(59)
8
(46)
4
(39)
12.3
(54.1)
Record low °C (°F) −11
(12)
−7
(19)
−7
(19)
0
(32)
6
(43)
10
(50)
14
(57)
11
(52)
6
(43)
2
(36)
−3
(27)
−6
(21)
−11
(12)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 110
(4.33)
85
(3.35)
60
(2.36)
40
(1.57)
30
(1.18)
10
(0.39)
0
(0)
0
(0)
15
(0.59)
50
(1.97)
70
(2.76)
95
(3.74)
565
(22.24)
Average rainy days 16 12 10 10 7 3 0 0 3 5 7 15 88
Average snowy days 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3
Average relative humidity (%) 84 76 69 65 51 49 41 44 52 56 67 83 61.4
Source: Weather Online, Weather Base, BBC Weather,MyForecast and My Weather 2

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ General Census of Population and Housing 2004. Syria Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). Aleppo Governorate. (Arabic)
  2. ^ Andrew Palmer, The Seventh Century in the West-Syrian Chronicles (1993), p. 209, fn. 525.
  3. ^ Winter, Stefan (2005). "Les Kurdes du Nord-Ouest syrien et l'État ottoman, 1690-1750". In Afifi, Mohammad. Sociétés rurales ottomanes. Cairo: IFAO. pp. 243–258. ISBN 2724704118. 
  4. ^ http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurds/4978.html
  5. ^ "Liberated Kurdish Cities in Syria Move into Next Phase". Rudaw. 25 July 2012. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  6. ^ "Kurdish muscle flexing". Jerusalem Post. 14 November 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2012. 
  7. ^ "Democratic autonomy has declared in Afrin canton in Rojava". Mednuce. 29 January 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  8. ^ "After Cizîre, Kobanê Canton has been declared". Firat News. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  9. ^ "The Constitution of the Rojava Cantons; Personal Website of Mutlu Civiroglu". civiroglu.net. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  10. ^ "Syria's Kurds Warn Afrin Could Be The New Kobani". 
  11. ^ ÇİFTE DEVRİM in Özgür Gündem
  12. ^ "Syria's first Kurdish university attracts controversy as well as students". Al-Monitor. 2016-05-18. Retrieved 2016-07-14. 

Coordinates: 36°30′36″N 36°52′04″E / 36.51000°N 36.86778°E / 36.51000; 36.86778