AL-Qamishli: Activist tortured by the Air Force Intelligence Service
KURDWATCH, December 16, 2012—On December 12, 2012, Rodi Ibrahim (b. 1977, married, three children) was arrested by employees of the Air Force Intelligence Service at the Zelal youth center in al‑Qamishli. Ibrahim is the head of the youth center and is accused of training »radical groups« there. Three of the center’s computers were confiscated. After paying bribes, Ibrahim’s relatives were able to visit him on December 14. They reported to KurdWatch that he is being tortured.
Al-Qamishli: No to UN peacekeeping forces
KURDWATCH, December 14, 2012—Nationwide protests on December 7, 2012, resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators united under the slogan »No to [UN] peacekeeping forces in Syria« took to the streets to demand the fall of the regime. The People’s Council of West Kurdistan did not organize any demonstrations on this Friday. Due to heavy rain, participation in the Kurdish National Council’s demonstrations was very low. Only two demonstrations took place in al‑Qamishli in the districts of al‑ʿAntariyah (organized by the Biratî, Rojava, Shaikh Maʿshuq and Farhad Martyrs youth groups) and Munir Habib (organized by the Kurdish National Council). One demonstration, organized by the Kurdish National Council and various youth groups, took place in each of the cities of ʿAmudah and ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî). There were two demonstrations in al‑Hasakah. In al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik) and al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), the weekly demonstrations by the Kurdish National Council took place on Saturday, not on Friday. There were no protests in ad‑Darbasiyah, al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), or Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), nor in the mainly Kurdish districts in Aleppo. In the Kurdish district of Ruknuddin in Damascus, supporters of the Free Syrian Army organized nighttime demonstrations.
Al-Qamishli: Youth groups call for protection of the country
KURDWATCH, December 14, 2012—On November 12, 2012, following the military conflicts in Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê) [further information], twelve Kurdish youth groups in al‑Qamishli called on the »sons of the Kurdish people of all regions« and the Kurdish youth in Iraqi-Kurdistan and abroad to protect the people and the country and to free it from dictatorship.
The following groups were involved:
Kurdish Youth Assembly al‑Qamishli (Syrian National Council)
Kurdish Youth Movement (Kurdish National Council)
Spring of the Free Youth (Syrian National Council)
Cooperation of National Unity
Observatory Council of the Kurdish Future Movement (Syrian National Council)
Movement of Syrian-Kurdistan
Movement of the Sun of Freedom
Martyr Mishʿal-at‑Tammu Cooperation (Syrian National Council)
Youth of the Birth of Freedom (Syrian National Council)
Movement of Revolutionary Youth (Kurdish National Council)
Alliance of Sewa Youth (Syrian National Council)
Union of Cooperation of Kurdish Youth in Syria (Syrian National Council and Kurdish National Council)
Al-Qamishli: Shots exchanged between YPG and Tay
KURDWATCH, December 12, 2012—On December 1, 2012, armed members of the Arab tribe Tay occupied the building of the private al‑Maʾmun University in al‑Qamishli. They were supporters of the local tribal leader, Muhammad Faris, who is considered close to the regime. When members of the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG) subsequently attempted to surround the building, shots were exchanged. Shortly thereafter, the Tay left the building. Several of them had been wounded; one person succumbed to injuries on December 5.
ʿAmudah: PYD destroys Military Intelligence Service documents
KURDWATCH, December 9, 2012—On November 9, 2012, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) took over numerous institutions in the city of ad‑Darbasiyah from the Syrian regime [further information]. According to the most recent information, this also included the Air Force Intelligence Service building, city hall, the court of arbitration, and the electric and water utilities. There is no police presence in the cities of ʿAmudah, ad‑Darbasiyah, and al‑Malikiya (Dêrik) anymore. Government employees who do not work in security continue to perform their duties and their salaries are still paid from Damascus. However, their work is controlled by the PYD. Thus, for example, a PYD cadre was delegated to city hall in ad‑Darbasiyah. The PYD flag has been raised in front of the institutions that have been taken over.
An activist reported to KurdWatch that following the takeover of the Military Intelligence Service building in ad‑Darbasiyah, PYD members burned documents that remained there. Members of other security services had done this themselves before leaving their buildings.
Al-Qamishli: Separate demonstrations despite consensus in Erbil
KURDWATCH, December 8, 2012—Nationwide protests on November 30, 2012, resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators united under the slogan »The fingers of victory [are] over the [Presidential] Palace« took to the streets to demand the fall of the regime. After representatives of the Kurdish National Council and the People’s Council of West Kurdistan agreed on November 25 in Erbil to resolve all of the problems remaining between them, their supporters demonstrated under the slogan »Common fight«. However, the demonstrations of the two councils remained separate. 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), Kurnish (organized by supporters of the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria under Rezan Bari Shaykhmus, the Sewa youth group, and other independent 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 Democratic Union Party [PYD]). Three demonstrations took place in ʿAmudah, organized by the PYD, the Kurdish National Council, and various youth groups. Three demonstrations also took place in al-Hasakah. Two demonstrations, organized by the PYD and the Kurdish National Council, took place in both ad‑Darbasiyah and al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî). The PYD organized a demonstration in ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî). In addition, KNR supporters again took to the streets despite that a week ago the local committee of the Kurdish National Council called on its supporters to forgo demonstrations for two weeks. In al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik) and al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), the weekly demonstrations of the Kurdish National Council took place on Saturday, not on Friday. There were no protests in al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa) or Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), nor were there any in the Kurdish districts of Aleppo and Damascus.
Erbil: Renewed talks between People’s Council and Kurdish National Council—YPG denies dissolution
KURDWATCH, December 5, 2012—From November 23 to 25, 2012, talks between the Kurdish National Council and the People’s Council of West Kurdistan took place in Erbil at the invitation of Masʿud Barzani. On November 25, the participants issued a press release that announced the adherence to all points of the Erbil Agreement of June 11, 2012 [download document], the »resolution of all problems«, and the protection of social peace. In addition, the two councils agreed to form committees and joint, specialized executive boards to »protect the people« and to safeguard »connections abroad in the service of the common political line«. The sentence regarding the joint protection of the people has been understood by many observers as an agreement to form a joint Kurdish army and as an indication of the dissolution of the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG). The YPG released a statement later that same day emphasizing that it would not unite with any other power; the YPG is only »united with the people«. On November 28, 2012, the YPG qualified this statement, stating that, as a »patriotic unit«, it is subject to all agreements and decisions of the Supreme Kurdish Committee. The November 25 declaration should be understood as a reaction to the fact that the announcement by both councils was interpreted by numerous commentators, on the internet in particular, as the dissolution of the YPG.
New Document: Second cooperation agreement between People’s Council of West Kurdistan and Kurdish National Council
KURDWATCH, December 4, 2012—On July 11, 2012, representatives of the People’s Council of West Kurdistan and the Kurdish National Council (KNR) signed a second cooperation agreement intended to govern relations between the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the parties of the KNR in Syria. The agreement came about following talks in Salahuddin (Kurdistan/Iraq). As with the first agreement of June 11, 2012 [download document], the talks were held at the invitation of the president of the region Kurdistan/Iraq, Masʿud Barzani. To date, the PYD has not implemented point 5 of the agreement, which calls for a general ban on violence. KurdWatch releases the text of the cooperation agreement [download document].
ʿAmudah/ad-Darbasiyah: Syrian regime cedes additional cities to the PYD
KURDWATCH, December 1, 2012—After armed Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups marched into the majority Kurdish city of Raʾs al‑ʿAin (Serê Kaniyê) on November 8, 2012 [further information], the Syrian regime ceded control of several predominantly Kurdish cities to the Democratic Union Party (PYD). On November 9, and 10, 2012, Syrian security forces in ad‑Darbasiyah withdrew from the buildings belonging to the Political Security Directorate, the Military Intelligence Service, the State Security Service, and the police; they also gave the PYD control of the border crossing to Turkey. In Tall Tamr, security forces abandoned the buildings belonging to the police, the State Security Service, and the Military Intelligence Service. In ʿAmudah, the buildings belonging to the Political Security Directorate, the Military Intelligence Service, and the Recruitment Office were ceded to the PYD. On November 12, 2012 in al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), the government withdrew from the buildings belonging to the Political Security Directorate, the Military Intelligence Service, the State Security Service, the police, and the Baʿth party, and ceded a checkpoint on one of the main access roads to the PYD. The government had already withdrawn from several institutions in the latter two cities in the summer of 2012 .
ʿAmudah: Yekîtî forms armed battalion
KURDWATCH, November 30, 2012—In early November 2012, the Kurdish Union Party in Syria (Yekîtî) formed an armed unit in ʿAmuda – the Martyr Tahsin Mamo battalion. Mamo was a member of the Yekîtî and died while in custody in 2008 A Yekîtî member from ʿAmudah told KurdWatch that the battalion was established »to protect the people in an emergency«.