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On a dusty farm in northeastern Syria, Shufan Mahmoud cradles his 9-month-old prize rooster in his hands. Sniper, as the fighting fowl is named, is gearing up for a cockfight.Mahmoud's farm is outside Qamishli, a Kurdish-majority town that has become the hub of an autonomous zone in northern Syria.The tussle continues until one rooster sits or flees, sealing the other's victory.People flock to Mahmoud's farm every day for the fights, but Friday – a weekend day in Syria – is the busiest, said Rezan Faysal, 38, one of the organizers.Mahmoud said cockerel fighting is relatively new in Syria's Kurdish region, but follows on from a more local version of the activity.Ahmad Sharabi, 25, is a self-described cockfighting addict and admits he's in it for the money.He hails from Derbassieh, a town on Syria's border with Turkey, and says he was long able to win big thanks to his first-rate rooster Bruce Lee.
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