Northern Kurds in Syria


Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

Kurds represent almost ten per cent of the population of Syria and five percent of the world population of Kurds. They live in three main regions of northern Syria which, though politically an integral part of the country, are ethnically and linguistically connected to Kurdistan.
The country's largest Kurdish population lives just east of the Euphrates River. This piece of land is more than 175 miles long and stretches across the northern section of the Iraqi border. This region was settled by Kurdish tribes and other mountain peasants who were fleeing Turkish persecution. They eventually became permanent settlers there. There are also substantial Kurdish communities in the cities of Aleppo and Damascus further south. Syrian Kurds who speak Arabic as their first language are classified as Arabs by the Syrian government. In 1962 the new Syrian government stripped many Kurds of citizenship that was previously granted during the French Mandate of Syria.
Syrian Kurds speak Arabic as well as their own language of Kurmanji or northern Kurdish. Educated Kurds speak English and often French. A complete Kurmanji Bible became available in 2008.


What Are Their Lives Like?

The Syrian Civil War has been raging since 2011 with no sign of ending. The lives of the Kurds in Syria have been disrupted. Many Kurds have died in the violence and many others have been displaced. The Kurds have been able to carve out a semi-autonomous region in northeastern Syria as their own territory. This region has been attacked by Turkish forces in recent years. Turks view Kurdish leaders and parties as terrorists.
The Kurd-Dagh, or "mountain of the Kurds," is located in the extreme northwestern part of Syria. This is also the westernmost part of Kurdistan and the only populated mountain area in Syria. Grains, vines, figs, olives, and mulberries grow there. In higher altitudes, there are oak forests. To supplement their agriculture, Kurds raise sheep, goats and cattle.
The father is the head of the Kurdish home. In traditional Kurdish society the wife stays at home to take care of the children. As more women are educated, more of them are taking jobs outside the home. Most men marry one wife although a wealthy man may have as many as four wives. Children, especially boys, are seen as the blessing of Allah.


What Are Their Beliefs?

 Nearly all Kurds are Muslims, most being Sunnis. A tiny fraction claim to be followers of Jesus Christ. Kurds first embraced Islam after the Arab conquests of the seventh century. Today, they look to Islam as a basis for social justice. Sunnis try to obey the teachings of the Koran and the prophet Mohammad. Sunnis believe that by following the Five Pillars of Islam that they will attain heaven when they die. However, Allah, the supreme God of the universe, determines who enters paradise. Sunnis pray five times a day facing Mecca. They fast the month of Ramadan. They attend mosque services on Friday. If a Muslim has the means, he or she will make a pilgrimage to Mecca once in his or her lifetime. Muslims are also prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, using deceit, slandering, and making idols.
The two main holidays for Sunni Muslims are Eid al Fitr, the breaking of the monthly fast and Eid al Adha, the celebration of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son to Allah. The most important festival for the Kurds is Newroz or the New Year's celebration starting on March 19-21. Kurds eat special meals, dance, sing, wear holiday clothing, and jump over bonfires. The Syrian government has tried to suppress the celebration of this Kurdish holiday.


What Are Their Needs?

Throughout most of their history, the Kurds have not had a country to call their own. Neither have they been free to express their own culture. They have been persecuted and displaced throughout their past. The Kurds need to know the peace, love, and security that can only be found through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Christian agencies can provide relief for Kurdish refugees and gain a platform to share the good news.


Prayer Points

* Scripture Prayers for the Kurd, Kurmanji in Syria.

Pray that God will supply clean water and food for the Kurmanji Kurds living in refugee camps.
Ask the Lord to raise up Christian medical teams who can take supplies and expertise to the Kurmanji Kurds.
Ask the Lord to call Holy Spirit anointed Syrian believers to share Christ with Kurmanji Kurds.
Ask God to encourage and protect the small number of Kurdish believers.
Ask the Holy Spirit to soften Kurdish hearts towards Christ and be willing to become part of a movement to the Savior.


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

Additional Info
Global Prayer Digest: 2011-12-17
Global Prayer Digest: 2016-12-17
People Name General Kurd, Kurmanji
People Name in Country Kurd, Kurmanji
Natural Name Northern Kurds
Pronunciation kerds
Population this Country 1,481,000
Population all Countries 15,960,000
Total Countries 33
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 2  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 30
Alternate Names Kermanji; Kurmanji; Turkish Kurd; Yazidi; Yezidi
People ID 12877
ROP3 Code 105458
Country Syria
Region Africa, North and Middle East
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 12  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Al Hasakah Governorate, area on border northwest of Al Hasakah city; Halab Governorate, north of reservoir along Euphrates; Ar Raqqah Governorate, area surrounding capital; other possible locales: northern Cizire (Qamishlok), Kurd-Dagh (Ciyayê Kurdî, Afrin), Ain-Arab; Allepo, Damascus.   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Country Syria
Region Africa, North and Middle East
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 12  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Al Hasakah Governorate, area on border northwest of Al Hasakah city; Halab Governorate, north of reservoir along Euphrates; Ar Raqqah Governorate, area surrounding capital; other possible locales: northern Cizire (Qamishlok), Kurd-Dagh (Ciyayê Kurdî, Afrin), Ain-Arab; Allepo, Damascus..   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Primary Language Kurdish, Northern (1,481,000 speakers)
Language Code kmr   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Kurdish, Northern (1,481,000 speakers)
Language Code kmr   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Kurdish, Northern

Primary Language:  Kurdish, Northern

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1856-2016)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1872-2005)
Bible-Complete Yes  (2008)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
Possible Print Bibles
Amazon
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Audio Recordings StoryRunners Oral Bible Stories
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Indigitube.tv Video / Animation
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Kurdish, Northern
Film / Video Life's Gold
Film / Video Life's Gold
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels
Film / Video Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
Film / Video The Prophets' Story
General Got Questions Ministry
General Walk with the Prophets and meet the Messiah
Mobile App Download audio Bible app as APK file from FCBH
Text / Printed Matter Bible: Comic Book Version (SuperBible)
Text / Printed Matter Bible: Kurdish New Testament & Psalms
Text / Printed Matter Jesus Messiah comic book
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
Buddhism
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.06 %)
0.13 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
0.00 %
Islam
99.87 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
Anglican
0.0 %
Independent
20.0 %
Orthodox
25.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
Protestant
25.0 %
Roman Catholic
30.0 %
Photo Source Anonymous 
Map Source Bethany World Prayer Center  
Profile Source Joshua Project  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more


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