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  In December last year Alex Kelly and his friend Ed Crosthwaite-Eyre rode their bicycles across Iraqi Kurdistan. Expecting to bear witness to the dispiriting aftermath of Saddam Hussein's regime, during which hundreds of thousands of Kurds were killed, they were startled by the friendly enthusiasm with which they were met. Welcomed by gift-bearing policemen and chaperoned by a series of television crews, both cyclists left the country with significantly different ideas about it than when they arrived

  PNA - A severe shortage of rainfall that has lasted more than three years has crippled agriculture in northeastern Syria (Syrian Kurdistan), where residents say conditions are still deteriorating in the absence of economic alternatives and an adequate government response. People's living conditions in the area are dire, said Ahmad al-Salem, an agricultural engineer who lives in a village close to the Kurdish town of Qamishli.