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Saddam's Iraq: Key events
Aftermath from 1991

Uprisings March 1991 Kurdish refugees who fled northern Iraq after the uprising was put down
1.5 million Kurds fled Iraq
Almost immediately after Iraq accepted the ceasefire, uprisings began to spread from dissident areas in the north and south of the country.

Shia Muslims in Basra, Najaf and Karbala in southern Iraq took to the streets in protest against the regime.

Kurds in the north persuaded the local military to switch sides. Suleimaniyeh was the first large city to fall.

Map showing Kurdish areas and Shia areas
"Hundreds of Iraqi soldiers have been taken prisoner"
Jonathan Charles, Tehran
Within a week the Kurds controlled the Kurdish Autonomous Region and the nearby oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

In mid-February, President Bush Snr had called on the Iraqi people and military to “take matters into their own hands”.

But the hoped for US support never came. Instead, Iraqi helicopter gunships arrived.

INDICT, a group campaigning for Iraqi leaders to be tried for war crimes, says civilians and suspected rebels were executed en masse, and hospitals, schools, mosques, shrines and columns of escaping refugees were bombed and shelled.

According to the US, which has been criticised for allowing Saddam Hussein to continue using the military helicopters, between 30,000 and 60,000 people were killed.

In the north, 1.5 million Kurds fled across the mountains into Iran and Turkey. As the harsh conditions created a humanitarian catastrophe, the UN launched Operation Provide Comfort, air-dropping aid supplies to the refugees.

Saddam's rise: 1957-79
Iran-Iraq war: 1980-88
Gulf War: 1991
Aftermath: From 1991
Sanctions: 1991-2002
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