KURDWATCH NEWSLETTER – AUGUST I
Al-Yaʿrubiya: Syrian army reclaims border crossing
KURDWATCH, August 6, 2012—On July 21, 2012, Free Syrian Army units captured the most important border crossing between Iraq and Syria’s Kurdish regions near al‑Yaʿrubiyah (Tel Koçer), eighty kilometers east of al‑Qamischli. In the early morning of July 22, the Syrian army, equipped with tanks and helicopters, was able to reclaim the city, which is home to Kurds and Arabs, as well as the border crossing. Numerous activists were arrested, homes were searched, and businesses were looted. In the days that followed, dozens of families left their homes, finding refuge in the surrounding towns and cities.
Al-Malikiyah: Regime cedes service offices and rural areas to the PYD—intelligence service headquarters reclaimed
KURDWATCH, August 5, 2012—On July 21, 2012, armed members of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) took over numerous check points and police stations in the rural areas of the district of al‑Malikiyah, including ʿAyn Diwar. The only border crossing between Syria and Iraqi-Kurdistan, near Faysh Khabur, was also taken over by the PYD after security forces withdrew. Since then, the PYD has had control of the entire Syrian-Turkish border to the north and east of al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik) and the Syrian-Iraqi border to the south of the city. On July 21, members of the PYD also occupied several offices in the city of al‑Malikiyah, including city hall, the headquarters of the State Security Service and the Military Intelligence Service, the court, the Bank for Agriculture, several police stations, and the building that houses the state telecommunications company and the post office. A few hours after the occupation, Syrian security forces and members of the PYD exchanged fire at the Military Intelligence Service headquarters. During the exchange Bewar Mako, a PYD member from Iran, was killed. Security forces reclaimed all intelligence service headquarters. Currently, all service offices, schools, and state hospitals are under PYD control, while members of the regime continue to have control of all intelligence service headquarters. A Syrian army unit remains stationed at a barracks three kilometers southwest of al‑Malikiyah. Members of the Kurdish National Council and the People’s Council of West Kurdistan have formed a joint committee to administer al‑Malikiyah. The Kurdish National Council demanded to be included in the monitoring of all checkpoints and buildings. The PYD was only prepared to jointly administer those buildings located within the city.
Damascus: Taxi driver arrested
KURDWATCH, August 2, 2012—On July 2, 2012, employees of the Air Force Intelligence Service arrested the taxi driver Muhammad Hawass Kalash (b. 1991 in al‑Qamishli) on the way to Damascus International Airport. At this point in time the reasons for his arrest remain unknown.
Al-Qamishli: PYD‑supporters threaten activists
KURDWATCH, August 1, 2012—Nationwide protests on July 27, 2012 resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators united under the slogan »Resistance of both capitals« took to the streets to demand the fall of the regime. In the Kurdish regions, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and several youth groups protested under their own slogan »Freedom for the leader Abdullah Öcalan«. In al‑Qamishli, one demonstration took place in each of the districts of Qanat Suwais, al‑ʿAntariyah (organized by the Biratî youth group and Kurdish National Council youth groups), Kurnish (organized by supporters of Kurdish Future Movement, which has split, and various independent youth groups), and Qudurbak (organized by Arab youth groups). Numerous members of the security forces were present in the city center so that no demonstration could take place there. Three additional protests began at the demonstrators’ central meeting point at the Qamismo mosque in the western district of al‑Qamishli. The organizers were the PYD, the Kurdish National Council, and the Union of Kurdish Democratic Forces in Syria. In al‑ʿAntariyah, armed PYD supporters attacked several activists who were filming the demonstration. They pointed weapons at the activists and stole a laptop, a cell phone, and memory cards. Two days later the stolen equipment was returned. In ʿAmudah, three separate demonstrations took place, organized by the Kurdish National Council, the PYD, and various youth groups. In ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), which has been administered by Kurdish parties since July 19 [further information], two demonstrations took place, organized by the PYD and the Kurdish National Council. In al‑Hasakah there were four demonstrations. One central demonstration took place in each of the cities of al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), ad‑Darbasiyah, al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), and Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), as well as in the Kurdish districts of Shaikh Maqsud in Aleppo and Ruknuddin in Damascus. In al‑Malikiyah and al‑Maʿbada, the Friday demonstrations were organized by youth groups; as in recent months, the Kurdish National Council demonstrations took place on Saturday. Because of Ramadan, numerous demonstrations, especially in Aleppo and Damascus, were organized at night. There were no protests in ʿAfrin.
Aleppo: PYD brutally beats up doctor
KURDWATCH, July 31, 2012—On July 8, 2012, armed supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) kidnapped Dr. Niyazi Habash (b. 1981, married, two children) in front of his apartment in Aleppo. Habash was held until evening and tortured in a building he could not identify. The activist was punched in the face, kicked, and subjected to electric shocks to his hands and feet. Both of his legs were broken with stones and iron bars. An employee of the hospital where he was treated told KurdWatch that Habash needed an operation and would not be able to walk for at least two months.
Habash belongs to the oppositional group »Kurdish Spring«. He believes that his kidnapping was also a warning to other members. He further told KurdWatch that the kidnappers spoke Arabic to him, but spoke Kurdish on their cell phones. He views this as an attempt to cover up the fact that they were Kurds. In ʿAfrin, the PYD threatened to kill two additional doctors as they did Dr. Scharzad Haj Rashid should they continue with their political activities.
Al‑Hasakah: Released after four years imprisonment
KURDWATCH, July 29, 2012—On June 12, 2012, the Criminal Court in al‑Hasakah released Jiwan Yusuf Yusuf (b. 1986 in al‑Qamishli) against a bond of fifty thousand Syrian lira. Yusuf was arrested on September 4, 2008 after unknown persons fatally shot two police officers.
Damascus: Two Kurds executed
KURDWATCH, July 29, 2012—During fighting in Damascus on July 23, 2012, the Syrian Army arrested several dozen people, including fighters in the Free Syrian Army. A few hours later, thirteen of those arrested were executed in the district of Darayya, including Nechirvan Farhad al‑Qurami (b. in ʿAmudah) and Shivan Sulayman al‑Qurami (b. in ʿAmudah). Nechirvan was a member of the Free Syrian Army.