Hawar News: KRG Border Still Closed

Transnational Middle East Oberserver – 21.5.2013 – According to Hawar News, the KDP/KRG closed the border crossing since Monday morning after the PYD Asayish arrested 74 members of Al-Parti on 18 May, which were released yesterday. An Al Jazeera report claimed the border is a lifeline for Syrians (only Kurds cross here).

One week ago, there was a similar incident when a KNC delegation came back from Kurdistan and was checked by the Asayish. This lead to a Barzani statement ‘against the policy of exclusion’ on 5 May.On 18 May, 74 KDP-S members were arrested after crossing the border. This led to angry statements of the KRG presidency suggesting one party [PYD] shouldn’t control the Kurdish areas of Syria. Earlier before, the KRG closed the border which led to tensions. In January 2013, the KRG closed the border according to the International Crisis Group. Then it lead to protests by the PYD and media campaigns in PYD-affiliated media with ANF suggesting KRG was trying to fragment Kurdistan. However, at the time the KRG denied the blockade was political. It is most likely that this issue will be solved again by negotiations between the PYD and the KDP. However, it could lead to ongoing claims and counterclaims in the media

The ICG’s earlier report:

Turkey’s policy towards Syrian Kurds is not publicly declared, but it adds up to a blockade of their areas. Turkish officials explain they keep the border gate to the main gateway to Iraqi Kurdish areas in Qamishli closed to humanitarian aid and crossings because “the PYD is on the other side”. Turkey’s (Sunni Muslim) faithbased NGO IHH says lack of security means it does not supply Kurdish areas. Western diplomats denounce discrimination at Turkish border posts, with Kurdish-speaking casualties not being allowed across, but Turkish officials deny any such policy.155 Persistent reports say that a number of Syrian opposition fighters crossed the TurkeySyria border at Ceylanpınar to fight in sustained November 2012 battles against the PYD on the Ras al-Ain/Kobane front; Turkish officials deny this happened.156 For part of January 2013, Turkey’s allies in Iraqi Kurdistan also closed their border to Syrian Kurds, and at other times the Turkey-backed Syrian opposition has cut Syrian roads to Kurdish areas.15