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Who Are the Kurds?

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Some 17% of Iraq's population are Kurdish.

The Kurdish flag flies above Dohuk, northern Iraq, near Erbil.

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Definition:

The Kurds are a people of the Middle East and Central Asia who speak Kurdish, a language related to Persian and other Iranian languages.

Some 27 million Kurds live in Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey. They have active secessionist groups in both Iraq and Turkey, much to the central governments' chagrin. In fact, the Kurdish people have been trying to establish an independent nation of Kurdistan for several centuries.

Traditionally a pastoral culture, today the Kurds control much of northern Iraq's oil production.

Pronunciation: "koordz"
Examples:

"Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq brutally repressed the Kurdish minority in the north of the country during the 1980s and 1990s."

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