KURD WATCH NEWSLETTER I / 2013 – Ad-Darbasiyah: YPG abducts armed Yekîtî members
WEST KURDISTAN (SYRIA)
KURDWATCH, January 15, 2013—On January 3, 2013, altercations between members of the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG) and members of the Yekîtî’s newly-founded Jiwan Qatna Battalion occurred in front of the office of the Kurdish Union Party in Syria (Yekîtî) in ad‑Darbasiyah.
Both sides fired shots into the air. In addition, Nizamuddin ʿAliko, Sulayman Mizar al‑ʿIsa, Jiwan Mirkhan, and Ismaʿil ʿAbdulbaqi ʿAli were kidnapped by the YPG. The YPG accused them of being members of an Islamic group. An activist associated with the Yekîtî told KurdWatch: »Members of the Jiwan Qatna Battalion were trained in weapons on a drill ground between Raʾs al‑ʿAyn and ad‑Darbasiyah by members of the Martyr Tahsin Mamo Battalion. The PYD does not accept that other Kurdish groups are also arming themselves, even if it is only to protect the Kurds«. Yekîtî supporters organized a rally in ad‑Darbasiyah to protest the abduction. After an intervention by the Kurdish National Council, the kidnapped victims were released the same day.
Al-Qamishli: Security forces injured in explosion
KURDWATCH, January 13, 2013—On January 2, 2013, a bomb exploded near the al‑Qamishli regional office, injuring four members of the security forces. Information about the casualties could not be confirmed. The reasons for the explosion are not yet known.
Al-Qamishli: Shots exchanged between PYD and Yekîtî
KURDWATCH, January 12, 2013—On January 3, 2013, armed supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in al‑Qamishli fired shots from a vehicle at the office of the Kurdish Union Party in Syria (Yekîtî). Yekîtî members returned fire and injured one of the attackers in the shoulder.
Al-Qamishli: PYD fails in attempt to mobilize one hundred thousand demonstrators
KURDWATCH, January 10, 2013—Ongoing fighting between the Free Syrian Army and government troops in the week of December 29, 2012 to January 4, 2013 resulted again in numerous dead and injured. The fighting was concentrated in the economic center of Aleppo, the capital Damascus, and the area around Hama and Idlib. On January 4, demonstrators throughout the country took to the streets united under the slogan »Homs calls the free to end the siege« and once again called for the fall of the regime. Supporters of the Kurdish National Council did not demonstrate under a common slogan; some demanded the recognition of the rights of the Kurds; others called attention to alleged irregularities in elections to the Kurdish National Council’s local committees. Supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) gathered under the slogan »Unity of the Freedom Youth«. In al‑Qamishli one demonstration took place in each of the districts of al‑ʿAntariyah (organized by the Biratî, Rojava, Shaykh Maʿshuq and Farhad Martyrs youth groups) and Munir Habib (organized by the Kurdish National Council). In addition, supporters of the PYD in al‑ʿAntariyah took part in a three day »Rally of the hundred thousand« [further information]. Nevertheless, only around ten thousand participants could be mobilized by January 4. In ʿAmudah, three separate demonstrations took place, organized by the PYD, the Kurdish National Council, and various youth groups. In al‑Hasakah, two demonstrations took place. Moreover, two demonstrations took place in both ad‑Darbasiyah and ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), one organized by the PYD and the other by the Kurdish National Counil. The Kurdish National Council’s weekly demonstrations in al‑Malikiyah and al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê) took place on Saturday, not on Friday. There were no protests in ʿAfrin, Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), or al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), nor in the Kurdish districts of Aleppo and Damascus.
Al-Qamishli: Youth groups organize three-day rally
KURDWATCH, January 10, 2013—From January 2 until January 4, 2013, supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) carried out a rally in the district of al‑ʿAntariyah in al‑Qamishli. They demanded freedom and democracy for the Kurdish and the Syrian people. The organizers set up tents, and numerous activists spent the night on site. The majority of the participants in the event were members of PYD-affiliated youth groups; however, members of the youth groups of the Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party in Syria, Nasruddin Ibrahim’s Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria (el‑Partî), and the Kurdistani Union Party in Syria, as well as members of non-partisan youth groups also took part. On January 4, around ten thousand people took part in the action, which was called »The rally of the hundred thousand«.
Damascus: Prime minister dismisses ninety people from civil service
KURDWATCH, January 9, 2013—At the end of December 2012, a decision by the acting Syrian prime minister Waʾil Nadir al‑Halqi to dismiss a total of ninety people from the civil service was announced. Decision No. 16488, dated October 18, 2012, primarily names teachers from al‑Hasakah province, but also civil servants from other offices and provinces. A copy of the decision was signed on December 11, 2012 by the education authority in al‑Hasakah. It is unclear whether those targeted by the decision have been fired for political reasons. The decision itself does not name any reasons for the dismissals.
Al-Hasakah: Deadly clashes between Arab tribes and PYD
KURDWATCH, January 9, 2013—On December 28, 2012, Syrian security forces shot at participants in a demonstration organized by Free Syrian Army supporters in al‑Hasakah resulting in multiple deaths and injuries. Armed members of several Arab tribes subsequently attacked positions of the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG). They accused the PYD of cooperating with the regime. Members of the PYD returned fire. Three people were killed, though it is unclear whether by shots fired from PYD supporters or by Syrian security forces.
Al-Qamishli: Kurdish Democratic Political Union—Syria established
KURDWATCH, January 7, 2013—On December 15, 2012, ʿAbdulhakim Bashar’s Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria (el‑Partî), the Kurdish Union Party in Syria (Yekîtî), Mustafa Khidr Oso’s Kurdish Freedom Party in Syria (Azadî), and Mustafa Jumʿa’s Kurdish Freedom Party in Syria (Azadî) announced the establishment of the »Kurdish Democratic Political Union—Syria«. Approximately one thousand five hundred people were present at the founding ceremony in al‑Qamishli. The Union was portrayed as a project on the way to forming a new party. Responding to the question of whether the two Azadî parties would unite within the Political Union, Dawran Malke, a member of the local committee of Mustafa Khidr Oso’s Azadî in al‑Qamishli, told KurdWatch: »Of course we want to join the two parties very quickly, but just like the other two parties, each Azadî party will initially be treated as a separate party. All steps toward unification
Al-Qamishli: PYD provokes supporters of the Kurdish National Council
KURDWATCH, January 4, 2013—Ongoing fighting between the Free Syrian Army and government troops on December 28, 2012 resulted again in numerous dead and injured. The fighting was concentrated in the economic center of Aleppo, the capital of Damascus, and the area around Hama. Throughout the country, demonstrators united under the motto »Blood bread« took to the streets to demand the fall of the regime. Supporters of the Kurdish National Council carried banners with similar content, thereby commemorating the victims of an air attack on a bakery near Hama. Supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) demonstrated under the slogan »The liberation of the Jazirah [lies] in the unity of the segments of its population«. In al‑Qamishli one demonstration took place in each of the districts of Qanat Suwais, al‑ʿAntariyah (organized by the Biratî, Rojava, Shaykh Maʿshuq and Farhad Martyrs youth groups) and Munir Habib (organized by the Kurdish National Council), as well as at the Qasimo mosque in the western district (organized by the PYD). PYD supporters provoked Kurdish National Council demonstrators in Munir Habib by driving several vehicles at walking speed into the crowd. In ʿAmudah there were three separate demonstrations, organized by the PYD, the Kurdish National Council, and various youth groups. There were three demonstrations in al‑Hasakah. Two demonstrations—one organized by the PYD and the other by the Kurdish National Council—took place in each of the cities of ad‑Darbasiyah, ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), and al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî). One demonstration organized by the PYD took place in al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik). The Kurdish National Council’s weekly demonstrations in al‑Malikiyah and al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê) took place on Saturday, not on Friday. There were no protests in ʿAfrin or Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), nor in the mainly Kurdish districts of Aleppo and Damascus.
Raʾs al-ʿAyn: No easing of tensions despite agreement between PYD and Free Syrian Army
KURDWATCH, January 4, 2013—After two days of negotiations between representatives of the Free Syrian Army and the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG), both sides settled on an agreement on December 16, 2012 to end the armed conflicts in Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê). Details of the agreement were not made public. According to information from KurdWatch, both sides agreed to release all prisoners, withdraw from the city, and leave the administration to representatives of the city’s Kurdish, Arab, Chechen, and Christian populations. In addition, all checkpoints outside of the city are to be shared. Currently, no fighting is taking place, but the rivals have not yet abandoned their positions. At the end of December, an activist from Raʾs al‑ʿAyn told KurdWatch: »Neither side is yet pursuing a policy of detente. We fear that they will soon attack each other again.«