Halabja gas attack survivor reunited with mother

BBC News

A man who as a baby survived a chemical attack on the Iraqi city of Halabja in 1988 has been reunited with his mother.

Ali Pour was taken to Iran by Iranian soldiers who stormed the Kurdish city days after the gas attack by Saddam Hussein’s forces.

Ali Pour made his way back to Halabja after growing up in Iran

Ali Pour made his way back to Halabja after growing up in Iran

Mr Pour, now 21, had to wait for the results of a DNA test before it could be determined whose son he was.

His mother, whose husband and six other children had all died in the attack, fainted when she heard.

Five thousand people were killed in the Halabja attack, considered one of the worst atrocities of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Five other families were waiting to hear from a judge whether Mr Pour was their missing son, but Fatima Mohammed Salih, 58, was found to be his real mother.

“I’m in a dream,” Mr Pour said as he comforted her, according to Associated Press news agency.

Mr Pour had been adopted by an Iranian woman and named Ali.

I wonder if it is a dream or a gift from God

Fatima Mohammed Salih

He grew up in eastern Iran speaking Persian, although he always knew he was from Halabja.

Co-operation between the Iranian and Iraqi Kurdish regional governments led to this week’s reunification – the first time a long-lost son of Halabja is known to have been reunited with his family.

Mr Pour, know as Zimnaku to his birth mother, has said he plans to stay in the region to study and learn the local language.

He is proud of his Kurdish identity, and is going to move in with his mother, he said.

“I wonder if it is a dream or a gift from God,” his mother said.

Forty-one people – children at the time of the attack, are still registered as missing, the assistant chief of the Directorate of the Martyrs of Halabja said, according to AP.

As a four-month-old baby, Ali Pour managed to survive three days after the gas attack while his family died around him.

His mother remembers the gas burning her children, collapsing herself and then waking in a Tehran hospital.

An Iranian woman offered to adopt him.

When Mr Pour’s adoptive mother died in a car accident four months ago, he said: “I felt lonely and I felt a strange feeling calling me to return to the arms of my relatives.

“I decided to go back.”

3 comments on “Halabja gas attack survivor reunited with mother

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