Qamishli is a city in northeastern Syria on the border with Turkey, adjoining the Turkish city of Nusaybin, and close to Iraq. According to the 2004 census, Qamishli had a population of 184’231. Qamishli is 680 kilometres northeast of Damascus.
The city is the administrative capital of the Qamishli District of Al-Hasakah Governorate, and the administrative center of Qamishli Subdistrict consisting of 92 localities with a combined population of 232’095 in 2004. In the course of the Rojava conflict, Qamishli became the capital of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria.
With a population of 184’231 (2004 Census), Qamishli is among the 10 largest cities in Syria by population.
Qamishli is an ethnically mixed city, inhabited predominantly by Arabs, Assyrians, Kurds and Armenians, with Assyrians and Armenians making up a significant minority. The city is considered to be a Christian center in Syria. It was founded by Assyrian/Syriac refugees fleeing the Assyrian genocide in Anatolia. Today, Kurds, Assyrians, Arabs and Armenians (about 8’500, of whom 2’000 are Armenian Catholics) live in the city.
The pre-war Christian population of Qamishli was about 40’000, of whom 25’000 belonged to the Syriac Orthodox Church, the biggest church in the city. Today it is believed that half of all Christians have left the town.
Qamishli was also home to a significant Jewish community. The origin of the Jews of Qamishli, unlike the Jews of Damascus and Aleppo who are a mixture of Sephardi Jews and Musta’arabi Jews, is the nearby city Nusaybin, in Turkey. In the 1930s the Jewish population of Qamishli numbered 3,000. After the escalation of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict in 1947, the situation of the Jews of Qamishli deteriorated. The exodus of Jews from Syria peaked due to violence, such as the 1947 anti-Jewish riots in Aleppo. By 1963, the community had dwindled to 800, and after the Six-Day War it went down further to 150, of whom only few remain today.
The Syrian government remains in control of the airport, the border crossing, and various government buildings such as hospitals, many residential neighborhoods, and various mosques and churches. The government also manages the salaries of its citizens, the production and the distribution of the harvest in its countryside, and organizes flights into and from the city to other various Syrian cities and Beirut. Whatsoever most of the city is under the administration of the de facto Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, whereby the city serves as the capital of Jazira Canton as well as the capital of the federation as a whole.
While the situation has proved stable over the years, there have been occasional instances of armed conflict between Pro Government forces and Sootoro against Rojavan police, the most notable being the April 2016 Qamishli clashes, which lasted for 2 days before ending in a ceasefire and the recapture of the city’s central prison by the Kurdish forces.
Also, many bombings have occurred in the city throughout the war, with ISIL claiming responsibility for many of the attacks, most notably on July 2016 where a double blast killed over 40 people and injured more.
⤷ City: 184’231
⤷ History of Qamishli