Just days before the Ba’athist government’s chemical attack on the Iraqi city of Halabja on March 16, 1988, Sebnem Ali, who left her children and went to Sulaimani to give birth, was searching for the whereabouts of her two children and five siblings who had been missing for 34 years.
Thirty-four years ago, at the behest of Saddam Hussein, Iraqi warplanes dropped gas bombs on people in Halabazar. The chemical attack killed 5,000 people, mostly women and children, and injured an estimated 6,000.
Although years have passed since the attack, the grief of the people of Halbazar who lost their relatives in the genocide has not abated.
One of these people is Sebnem Ali, a mother of Halbazar, who is still trying to find traces of her 2 children and 5 siblings that she lost in the attack.
Sebnem Ali told the Anadolu Agency (AA) in tears how he had left his children in Halabja before the attack and what he saw later.
“Mom please don’t leave me, I’ll go with you”
Ali said she had gone to Sulaimani to give birth a few days before the chemical attack, adding that she had to leave her two children with her brothers in Halabja.
Ali said, “I came to myself at 11.30 am after giving birth on March 16. I left my daughter in Halabja. I miss her very much. Because before I came to Sulaymaniyah for birth, she was clinging to my skirt and begging, ‘Mom, don’t leave me. , I will come with you
Ali’s wife, who left her 1-year-old son Karzan and 2.5-year-old daughter Sarah with her siblings, was serving in the military in southern Iraq at the time.
Halbazar’s mother said: “After I was admitted to the hospital in Sulaymaniyah, I heard that there was a bombing in Halbazar. I wanted to go with my state, but they said all roads were closed. They told me it was not possible to go anywhere. In time, they blew up the Jelim Bridge between Sulaymaniyah and Halabzar. He said.
“I am left in sorrow and pain.”
Sebnem Ali, who said they brought many wounded soldiers to the hospital where he was on March 16, when the Halabja massacre took place, and she feared because her husband was in the military at the same time, Sebnem Ali described her efforts to reunite with her children. :
“My wife, who worked in the south, was brought here because of the Iran-Iraq war. My daughter, whom I missed so much that day, woke me up after the surgery. I really wanted to see my daughter. When we went to Jellym Bridge, they said no. There is no way out. Unfortunately, I was in mourning and pain, still no news from them. “
“Mother didn’t know about her child, your brother.”
Ali said he went to the house where his wife’s children and siblings were staying after the attack. At the time, my wife was a soldier. Iran withdraws from Halabja and the Ba’athist government sends my wife to the front. He went to the house where my brother and our children lived in Halabja. Everything was as it was at home, but there was no one left. “
Sebnem Ali describes the horrific scene he encountered on his way to Halabja after the chemical attack with these words:
“When I went to Halabja, there was nothing. The smell of human carcasses and animal carcasses mixed together. Dead birds on the ground. As long as I live, I will never forget what I saw that day. Never forget the time of Halabja’s death.”
He is the chairman of the association he has set up for the bereaved.
The Iraqi mother suspects that her 2 children and 5 siblings were taken to an unknown location by the Ba’athist government as part of Operation Anfal.
Saying that he had asked those who were still in Halabja if they had seen their children and siblings, Ali continued the following:
“In Sulaymaniyah, one of our acquaintances told me that he had seen one of my brothers holding my child’s hand in front of a Ba’athist organization. I went to the military headquarters and asked about the fate of my children. Not found. “
Shebnam Ali, who has been searching for his two children and 5 siblings for 34 years, is also the president of the company he founded, with those who have felt the same pain as him.
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