Location in Syria

Coordinates: 37°06′15″N 40°55′48″E / 37.10417°N 40.93000°E / 37.10417; 40.93000
Country  Syria
Governorate Al Hasakah Governorate
District Al Qamishli District
Nahiyah Amuda
Elevation 470 m (1,540 ft)
Population (2004 census)
  Total 26,821
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
  Summer (DST) +3 (UTC)

Amuda or Amouda (Arabic: عامودا 'Āmūdā, Kurdish: Amûdê) is a town in Al Hasakah Governorate) in northeastern Syria close to the border with Turkey. Amuda has a mostly Kurdish population with also a significant Assyrian presence.[1][2] As a preliminary result of the ongoing Syrian Civil War, Amuda today is situated in Jazira Canton within the autonomous Federation of Northern Syria – Rojava framework.


Tell Shermola
Tell Amuda (Kemaliya)

Two tells exist in the area; the first is inside Amuda itself and the second exist on the Turkish side of the borders 3 kilometers north of the city.[3] In older literature and some modern one, the tell inside Amuda is named tell Amuda; however, the actual name of it, according to locals, is tell Shermola while the tell on the Turkish side is the real tell Amuda which had its name changed by the Turkish authorities to tell Kemaliya.[4]

Tell Shermola revealed evidence for a limited occupation dating to the third millennium BC.[4]

Middle Assyrian period

Archaeological evidence from Shermola dating to the middle Assyrian period reveal that the city was inhabited by Assyrians as early as the reign of Shalmaneser I (1250 BC).[5]

Shermola is identified by Elisabeth Wagner-Durand and Jeanne Marie Aynard with the Assyrian city of Kulishinas (Kulišinaš).[6][7][8] This identification is based on tablets written in Kulishinas discovered and sold to museums by a dealer who claimed that they were taken from Shermola; hence, the identification is not certain although Shermola being a middle Assyrian city is confirmed by archaeology.[9]

Modern era

The demographics of this area saw a huge shift in the early part of the 20th century. At the onset of the 20th century, Kurds cooperated with Ottoman authorities in the massacres against Armenian and Assyrian Christians in Upper Mesopotamia and were in return granted their land as a reward.[10]:24–25[11] Kurds were responsible for most of the atrocities against Assyrians, and Kurdish expansion happened at the expense of Assyrians.[12][13]

In 1936, there French forces Bombarded Amuda (Tusha Amudi). On 13 August 1937, in a revenge attack, about 500 Kurds from the Dakkuri, Milan, and Kiki tribes attacked the then predominantly Christian Amuda.[14] and burned the mostly Assyrian down.[15] The town was destroyed and the Christian population, about 300 families, fled to the towns of Qamishli and Hasakah.[16]

Kurdish tribes attacked and sacked Assyrian and Armenian villages in Albaq District immdeiately to the north of Hakkari mountains, killing large numbers of villagers.[10]:24 Syriacs began to immigrate from Syria after the Amuda massacre of August 9, 1937. This massacre, carried out by the Kurd Saeed Agha, emptied the city of its Syriac population, and the town became completely Kurdish.[17]

In 1941, the Assyrian community of al-Malikiyah was subjected to a vicious assault. Even though the assault failed, Assyrians were terrorized and left in large numbers, and the immigration of Kurds from Turkey to the area have resulted in a Kurdish majority in Amuda, al-Malikiyah, and al-Darbasiyah.[18]

On 13 November 1960, more than 200 children died in a fire at a movie theatre, the Amouda cinema.[19] There is a park in Amuda that commemorates the event.[20]

On 12 March 2004, there was an Uprising. As of 2004, Amuda is the fourth largest town in Al-Hasakah governorate.

Syrian Civil War

With the dawn of the Syrian Civil War, the rule of the Bashar al-Assad government ended in much of Rojava. Free Syrian Army fighters were briefly seen in the town[21] during the July 2012 withdrawal of government troops from the area, but by 21 July 2012 the Popular Protection Units (commonly known as YPG) established control.[22] The early days of Democratic Union Party (PYD) influence in Amuda was not without conflict – in June 2013, clashes took place.[23] Opponents of the PYD stated that fighters had opened fire on protesters following tensions with pro-Free Syrian Army youth committees and rivalling Kurdish groups. The PYD on the other hand stated it had been attacked by a mercenary gang.[24][25] Due to the onslaught of "Islamic State" fighters, thousands of refugees have moved towards Amuda.[26]

Following the development of the Rojava Revolution, the first meeting of the Democratic Autonomous Administration of the Jazira Canton was held in Amuda following its 21 January 2014 declaration. Al-Qamishli was declared as the Canton's de jure capital, but with Amuda acting as such for the time being. The meeting was held at the Hurî Culture and Art Centre, and was attended by the assembly president Ekrem Hiso, his two Arab and Assyrian deputies, and 22 ministers.[27] In July 2014 two new co-mayors were elected for the Canton, by a council gathered in Amuda. Those elected were Hamedi Daham (a sheikh of the Arab Shammar tribe) and Hadiya Yousif (former head of the Women's Protection Units, YPJ).[28] In November 2014 Bernard Kouchner, former foreign minister of France and co-founder of Doctors Without Borders, visited Amuda and met with local senior officials.[29]

Amuda under the rule of PYD

The end of government rule in July 2012 has resulted in a rejuvenation in Kurdish culture in Amuda. Following the departure of the Syrian Arab Army, Kurdish flags could again be sold in its markets, and a large demand for traditional Kurdish clothing likewise appeared. While the town was still under government control, a Kurdish language center was opened in 2011, working under threat. Since the arrival of the YPG the center can operate safely, resulting in an overflow of students. In late 2012 Ronahi TV was founded, the only Syrian television channel that broadcasts in Kurdish. It has 50 employees, some of them Arabs, presenting "more than 25 political, cultural, and social programs in Kurdish and Arabic".[30]

In August 2015 a Swedish activist group from Malmö (Allt åt Alla) launched the "Rojava Electricity Project", a crowdfunding campaign on the site Indiegogo, to raise money for Amuda. The goal is to, in the span of 23 days, collect $23,000 United States dollars to help repair the town's Swedish-made generators.[31] An electricity crisis is growing in Rojava, and according to the local economic committee three of Amuda's five generators are not functioning. Once the generators have been fixed using the funds procured through the campaign, the estimate is that 1320Kw will be generated, and that 800 households that are currently cut off will receive 10 hours of electricity a day.[32][33]


In 2004 the population was 26,821, 95% the inhabitants of the town are Kurds in addition to a significant number of Syriacs/Assyrians & Yazidis an ethno-religious group .[34] Some Arab and Kurdish inhabitants are refugees from other Syrian cities, they came during the last five years.

Historical Landmarks

Notable people

Poets and writers:


  2. Dilip Hiro (23 July 2004). "The Sarajevo of Iraq: Worsening Kurdish-Arab Friction Threatens the Region". Retrieved 14 December 2010.
  3. Giorgio Buccellati, Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati (1988). Mozan. p. 89.
  4. 1 2 Giorgio Buccellati, Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati (1988). Mozan. p. 36.
  5. Dominik Bonatz (2014). The Archaeology of Political Spaces: The Upper Mesopotamian Piedmont in the Second Millennium BCE. p. 73.
  6. Giorgio Buccellati, Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati (1988). Mozan. p. 35.
  7. Edward Lipiński (2000). The Aramaeans: Their Ancient History, Culture, Religion. p. 39.
  8. J. N. Postgate (2007). The Land of Assur & the Yoke of Assur: Studies on Assyria, 1971-2005. p. 126.
  9. Daisuke Shibata (2012). "Local Power in the Middle Assyrian Period: The "Kings of the Land of Māri" in the Middle Habur Region". In Gernot Wilhelm. Organization, Representation, and Symbols of Power in the Ancient Near East: Proceedings of the 54th Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale at Würzburg, 20-25 July 2008. Eisenbrauns. p. 496.
  10. 1 2 R. S. Stafford (2006). The Tragedy of the Assyrians.
  11. Hovannisian, Richard G., 2007. [The Armenian Genocide: Cultural and Ethical Legacies]. Accessed on 11 November 2014.
  12. Joan A. Argenter, R. McKenna Brown (2004). On the Margins of Nations: Endangered Languages and Linguistic Rights. p. 199.
  13. Lazar, David William, not dated. A brief history of the plight of the Christian Assyrians* in modern day Iraq. American Mespopotamian.
  14. Jordi Tejel, "Syria's Kurds: History, Politics and Society", footnote 57.
  15. Watenpaugh, Keith David (2014). Being Modern in the Middle East: Revolution, Nationalism, Colonialism, and the Arab Middle Class. Princeton University Press. p. 270. ISBN 1400866669.
  16. John Joseph, "Muslim-Christian Relations and Inter-Christian Rivalries in the Middle East", p107.
  17. Saqr Abu Fakhr in As-Safir, Abu Fakhr, Saqr, 2013. As-Safir daily Newspaper, Beirut. in Arabic Christian Decline in the Middle East: A Historical View
  18. Abu Fakhr, Saqr, 2013. As-Safir daily Newspaper, Beirut. in Arabic Christian Decline in the Middle East: A Historical View
  19. "Children Die in Movie House Fire", Daytona Beach Morning Journal, 15 November 1960, p4
  20. Rubin, Michael (13 February 2014). "The U.S. Gets the Kurds Wrong — Again". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  21. Hughs, Chris (20 July 2012). ""The regime is going through its last days": Fierce clashes in the battle for Damascus as Assad denies he's fleeing to Russia". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  22. "Clashes between Kurds and Syrian army in the Kurdish city of Qamişlo, Western Kurdistan". Ekurd Daily. 21 July 2012. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  23. "Kurdish militia kills three protesters in Syria town: activists". The Daily Star. Agence France-Presse. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  24. Glioti, Andrea (1 July 2013). "Syrian Kurdish Group Linked to PKK Kills Protesters". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  25. "Kurdish militia kills three protesters in Syria town: activists". The Daily Star. Agence France-Presse. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  26. Westall, Sylvia; Perry, Tom (27 June 2015). "Islamic State kills at least 145 civilians in Syria's Kobani". Reuters. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  27. "Al-Qamishli to be capital city of Jazeera Canton in Syrian Kurdistan". Firat News. 26 January 2014.
  28. "Kurdish Canton in Syria led by an Arab Sheikh". Bas News. 10 July 2014. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  29. Aumri, Masud (29 November 2014). "Former French Foreign Minister Advises Rojava to Get Closer to KRG". Bas News. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  30. "Long taboo, Kurdish culture sees renaissance in Syria". The Straits Times. Agence France-Presse. 12 August 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  31. "De vill hjälpa Rojova med elförsörjning". Sveriges Radio (in Swedish). 12 August 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  32. McKernan, Bethan (11 August 2015). "There's a peaceful region in the middle of Isis territory and it's running out of electricity". The Independent. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  33. Andersson, Nicklas (8 August 2015). "Deras projekt kan hjälpa hundratusentals ISIS-offer i Rojava". Aktuellt Fokus (in Swedish). Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  34. Baladi, Enab (14 August 2016). "Arabs, Kurds, and the social ties that overcome political conflicts". Enab Baladi English. Retrieved 12 September 2016.

Coordinates: 37°06′15″N 40°55′48″E / 37.10417°N 40.93000°E / 37.10417; 40.93000

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