THE NAME AND THE HISTORY OF AFRIN CITY
In Roman Times, there was a fast paved Roman road going through the
current site of Afrin and therefore it necessitated building a
bridge. The excavations in the Southern district of the old
city,namely, to the south of Jinderes Road showed that there were
large building stones. Perhaps they were foundations of old
buildings or maybe they were the stones of the old Roman Road.
The history books
refers that in the Middle Ages around the fourth century A.D.there
was a bridge in the city called Qibar Bridge, a name taken from the
owner of Qibar Citadel which is still seen to the north west of the
current village Arsh Qibar.
Late in Ottoman
Age, Afrin city had an inn which was a shelter for passengers and
their animals; it was near the bridge in the current council of the
After defining the
borders between Syria and Turkey according to a French-Turkish
agreement in 1922, the region was formally divided into two parts;
the Syrian part stayed without administrative center to replace
Kilis city which kept all administrative documents and people’s
personal affairs as well as their identity cards (ID cards).
By the time the
Frenchmen named the Syrian part of the Mount Kurds Kurdax, they had
to establish an administrative center for the region; they chose the
current site of Afrin nearby the new bridge which the Germans built
there in the late 19th century and therefore people earlier used to
call the city Coprieh which means bridge in Turkish. The Frenchmen
started to build government buildings since 1923.
inhabitants were some feudal noblemen such as Al Seydo Mimi, Al
Goubari and the chief of Zoroasterians, Darwish Akha Shamo and later
Ahmad Khalil from Mamal Oshaghy as well as some Armenian people who
fled from the Turkish oppression and then they worked as blacksmiths
and other jobs which the French forces needed, especially in
preparing their horses.
Afrin city has a
population of nearly 80,000 people according to the census of the
city’s council and it is a center for 6 towns. But Afrin region has
a population of about 450,000 people according to the documents of
civil affairs in the late 2000. However, the actual inhabitants in
Afrin region is 200,000 in the late 2000 according to the census of
population in 1994 and according to an average annual
growth rate of population in Syria.
Afrin region is
202775 hectares in total as mentioned in a census by the
agricultural directorate in Afrin region.
As to the name of
Afrin, there are many stories about the origin of its name; some
people make it pure Kurdish from ‘Ava riwen’ which means red impure water, others say it is from’’ Avrin’’
the flowing water. However, Afrin was first mentioned in the form of
‘Apre’ phonologically and semantically in Assyrian books which back
to the ninth century A.D. Similarly, it was almost mentioned in
historical texts by historian Strabun since the 5th B.C.
Historians agree that it is water in the old Aryans languages.
In addition to that,
some other people believe that Afrin is from ‘Afro’ which means the
fertile land in Aramyan as mentioned in the Syrian Geographical
Dictionary, volume 4, p.314.
Youness Sheikh Nassan