Syrian people look on as they arrive at a check point in the village of Anab ahead of crossing to the Turkish-backed Syrian rebels side on March 17, 2018, as civilians flee the city of Afrin in northern Syria. AFP / BULENT KILIC
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Syria Kurds mark grim Nowruz after fleeing AfrinWith tears in her eyes, Rasheeda Ali? said she would not celebrate the Kurdish New Year this week after she and her family were forced to flee under fire from Syria's Afrin. The annual Nowruz holiday which was being marked Wednesday had always been a time for Syrian Kurdish families to gather together and mark new beginnings, but this year is different.The fall of Afrin Sunday was a major blow for Syria's Kurds, who have proudly run autonomous local governments since 2013 – finally speaking Kurdish and marking customs previously banned by the Damascus government.For Syria's Kurds, Nowruz symbolizes the deliverance of Kurdish people from a mythical tyrant – but that was hard to imagine now.The Kurds have otherwise largely stayed out of Syria's complex seven-year-old conflict, instead focusing on building their own institutions, including in Afrin.
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