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Some Circassian, Kurdish and Chechen tribes cooperated with the Ottoman (Turkish) authorities in the massacres of Armenian and Assyrian Christians in Upper Mesopotamia, between 19, with further attacks on unarmed fleeing civilians conducted by local Arab militias.

The region received little investment or development from the central government and laws discriminated against Kurds owning property, driving cars, working in certain professions and forming political parties.

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In 1973, the Syrian authorities confiscated 750 square kilometres (290 square miles) of fertile agricultural land in Al-Hasakah Governorate, which was owned and cultivated by tens of thousands of Kurdish citizens, and gave it to Arab families brought in from other provinces.

In 2007, in the Al-Hasakah Governorate, 600 square kilometres (230 square miles) around Al-Malikiyah were granted to Arab families, while tens of thousands of Kurdish inhabitants of the villages concerned were evicted.

A number of Kurdish military and feudal settlements from before this period have been found in Syria.

Such settlements have been found in the Alawite and north Lebanese mountains and around Hama and its surroundings.

In his report for the 12th session of the UN Human Rights Council titled Persecution and Discrimination against Kurdish Citizens in Syria, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights held that "Successive Syrian governments continued to adopt a policy of ethnic discrimination and national persecution against Kurds, completely depriving them of their national, democratic and human rights – an integral part of human existence.

The government imposed ethnically-based programs, regulations and exclusionary measures on various aspects of Kurds’ lives – political, economic, social and cultural."In many instances, the Syrian government arbitrarily deprived ethnic Kurdish citizens of their citizenship.

In 2012, in the early stages of the Syrian Civil War, Syrian government forces withdrew from three mainly Kurdish areas, leaving control to local militias.

Existing underground Kurdish political parties, namely the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the Kurdish National Council (KNC), joined to form the Kurdish Supreme Committee (KSC) and the People's Protection Units (YPG) militia was established to defend Kurdish-inhabited areas in northern Syria.

The region lies to the west of the Tigris along the Turkish border and borders Iraqi Kurdistan to the southeast.

The region is at latitude approximately 36°30' north and mostly consists of plains and low hills, however there are some mountains in the region such as Mount Abdulaziz as well as the western part of the Sinjar Mountain Range in the Jazira Region.

Some of the criticism against the region has included claims of authoritarianism, Kurdification, forced recruitment, the imprisonment and harassment of dissidents and journalists, the promotion of a radical anti-capitalist ideology, and influence from the Kurdistan Workers' Party.

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