Second Assyrian Mayor Illegally Removed By Kurdish Authorities
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Basem Bello (center), the Assyrian mayor of Tel Kepe, north Iraq, was illegally removed from his office by the Kurdish authorities on August 3.
Tel Kepe, North Iraq (AINA) -- The mayor of Tel Kepe, Basim Bello, was removed from his office on August 3 by the Nineveh Provincial Council. Mr. Bello is the second Assyrian mayor in three weeks to be illegally removed from his office by the Kurdish authorities. The Assyrian Mayor of Alqosh, Fayez Abed Jawahreh, was removed from his office three weeks ago (AINA 2017-07-21, 2017-07-28).

Tel Kepe and Alqosh are Assyrian towns in north Iraq, in the Nineveh Plains, an area inhabited predominantly by Assyrians and outside the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) territory. The Nineveh Plains are under the jurisdiction of the central government.

Both mayor Bello and mayor Jawahreh were removed by Basil al-Keke, the Kurdish head of the Nineveh Provincial Council, which is controlled by the KRG.

Mayor Jawahreh was replaced by Lara Yousif, an Assyrian, but she was rejected by the majority of the residents Alqosh because she is a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and perceived to be loyal to that party, which does not represent Assyrian interests.

No replacement has been appointed for Mayor Bello.

Mr. Bello, who is a member of the Abnaa al-Nahrain Assyrian Party, has been an outspoken critic of the KDP and KRG, and has received death threats from KRG officials and high ranking KDP members, according to Wikileaks documents (here and here).

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