The inhospitable mountains that lie in a triangle between Iraq, Iran and Turkey are the homeland of the Kurdish nation.
GV PAN & LV People in street of regional Kurdish capital of Arbil with ancient fortress overlooking city (4 shots)
SV PULL BACK TO GV Group of men walking past houses in Siniari refugee village
SV & CU Iranian Kurdish refugees standing around (3 shots)
SV PAN Refugees outside dwellings
LV EXTERIOR Clinic
SV & CU INTERIOR Refugee receiving attention in clinic with pharmacist standing beside medicine shelf (3 shots)
TV PAN Refugees preparing foundations for new buildings
GV PAN FROM Arbil main road TO newly built village with modern houses ad Kurds seated outside (3 shots)
LV PAN Row of houses with TV aerials
SV PAN FROM Sign "Welcome to Sararush Tourist Village" TO hotel complex in Northern Iraq with tourists thronging street (3 shots)
LV & CU Hotel and reception sign with tourists arriving (3 shots)
LV PAN Holiday accommodation with tourists seated outside
SV Boys on swing
SV Sign "Cinema", "Theatre" and Conference Halls
GV PAN & SV Hotel complex with guests being served on balcony (2 shots)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The inhospitable mountains that lie in a triangle between Iraq, Iran and Turkey are the homeland of the Kurdish nation. But the borders drawn across the mountains by those three countries are no more than a fiction to the intense and nationalistic Kurds. A map will not show a country of Kurdistan. But the Kurds remain convinced it's only a temporary problem and that soon, the map makers will be required to show their homeland as an autonomous state.
SYNOPSIS: This is the town of Arbil in the north east of Iraq where the Kurds have set up what they regard as a regional capital. Originally, Arbil was meant as the settlement centre for Iraqi Kurds, but these days it serves another purpose...as a refuge for Kurds fleeing from the conflict in Iranian Kurdistan.
The refugee Kurds from Iran also have spilled into the area of Siniari. Essentially, Siniari, north-east of Arbil, is a refugee camp. There are some five hundred houses here, and about three thousand refugees, when last a count was made. The population increased remarkably when Iranian forces overran the Kurdish provincial capital of Sanandaj in mid-May. The battle for Sanandaj is part of a conflict which has lasted thirty-four years since the Kurds proclaimed their Republic of Mohabad. It is a confrontation which has involved past and present regimes in Iran, in Iraq and in Turkey.
The struggle for independence inevitably is interwoven in the deep seated animosity between Iraq and Iran. Each outbreak of fighting brings a new wave of refugees surging back or forth across the common border, with both sides accusing each other of stirring up Kurdish nationalism. The Kurds themselves are fighting the constraint of both nations, although in Iraq, they've won a form of administrative independence.
Arbil and its environs are an expression of that autonomy. Arbil and the resettlement villages typified by Siniari, are part of a concessionary package offered by the government in Baghdad to the Kurdish minority. Iran claims the Iraqi government has gone further, and accuses Baghdad of supplying arms to the Kurdish militants. Hundreds of Kurds and Iranian Revolutionary Guards have died in recent weeks in the battle for Sanandaj and in other clashes for lesser prizes.
To a degree, the Kurds have become well established in northern Iraq since their fifteen year struggle against the Baghdad regime ended in April, 1975. The Kurds even developed their own holiday resort areas, most of them built by Italian and French contractors. Here at Sararush tourist village in northern Iraq, facilities for holidaymakers are entirely adequate. In some of the hotels, the services border on the luxury standard. But for the most part, it's window-dressing.
Militant Kurds are consolidating under the blanket of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) -- a derivative of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, and now embracing at least four other partisan groups. The outlawed PUK claims more than two thousand men under arms, but disclaims any right to controlling a nation of Kurds. Rather it sees itself as a catalyst to achieving that aim, in an area where the most obvious tourist attraction is likely to be a guerrilla war.