Syrian Democratic Council Representative Invited to White House on Newroz Holiday

On March 20, 2023, Ms. Sinam Sherkany Mohamad, Chief of Mission of the US Mission of the Syrian Democratic Council, was invited to the White House to celebrate the Newroz Kurdish New Year holiday. It was the first-ever Newroz event at the White House.

Newroz is a symbol of renewal, growth, and the return of the light following the dark winter. Over 50 million Kurds celebrate the Kurdish New Year all over the world.

Not everyone welcomed the Kurdish New Year, however. At almost the same time that US President Joe Biden was giving a speech at the White House, discussing the inspiration of the Newroz holiday, in the Afrin region of Syria, which is occupied by Turkey, four members of the same Kurdish family were brutally murdered as they were celebrated Newroz by lighting the traditional Newroz fire. It was a shocking act of genocide by a militant group called Jaish al-Sharqia, a militia backed by Turkey.

The four Kurdish family members were lighting a humble Newroz fire outside a refugee tent after losing their home in the Jenderes district of Afrin in the tragic earthquake on February 6. The act of genocide was witnessed by family members and neighbors. It demonstrates that there are still many who discriminate against us as Kurds, with deadly consequences – and it makes it even more meaningful that the White House was a place of celebration for Newroz this week.

We hope to see justice for the genocide committed against Kurds in Syria during their Newroz celebrations. We look forward to stepping out from the dark and into the light of accountability for those who discriminate against us.