A Kurdish Minister of State in the Iraqi government defected to Syria on Tuesday (26 August) and announced he had resigned from his post.
CU Iraqi Minister Aziz Rashid Akrawi speaking in Arabic
SV Newsmen watching
CU Minister speaking in Arabic
CU Newsman writing
SV Minister speaking in Arabic
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Background: A Kurdish Minister of State in the Iraqi government defected to Syria on Tuesday (26 August) and announced he had resigned from his post.
SYNOPSIS: Aziz Rashid Akrawi, described as a retired major-general, told a news conference in Damascus he was joining an anti-Iraqi Kurdish movement. He strongly attacked the Iraqi government of President Saddam Hussein, describing it as dictatorial and fascist. Mr. Rashid said he was prompted by his conscience to resign and leave for Syria which was a bastion of Arab steadfastness and a base for the Palestine commando movement.
Relations between Iraq and neighbouring Syria, governed by hostile wings of the Arab Baath Socialist Party, this month plunged to a new low with both sides deporting each other's diplomats. Syrian diplomats were ordered out of Iraq after a security raid on their embassy in Baghdad uncovered a cache of guns and explosives. Damascus said the cache was planted. Mr. Rashid said he would continue the struggle to set up a democratic Iraq and establish genuine self-rule in Iraq's Kurdistan region. Mr. Rashid said he had left members of his family in Baghdad and was joining the Kurdish National Liberation Movement.
Kurdish minorities live in Iran, Iraq Syria and Turkey. They have been fighting for an autonomous state for more than thirty years.