KURDWATCH NEWSLETTER (II) WEST KURDISTAN – SYRIA – JANUARY 2014
Ad Darbasiyah: Asayiş kidnaps activist
KURDWATCH, January 19, 2014—On January 12, 2014, the Asayiş, the security service of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), kidnapped Amir Hamid Ahmad (b. 1976, married, five children), a member of the National Organization of Kurdish Youth.
Al-Malikiyah: PYD occupies event hall
KURDWATCH, January 16, 2014—On December 31, 2013, employees of the Asayiş, the security service of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), occupied an event hall in al Malikiyah. Prior to this they had repeatedly called upon the tenant to pay nine hundred fifty thousand Syrian liras in rent to the Asayiş. The tenant Ismail Mustafa Haji, a member of ‘Abdulhakim Bashar’s Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria (el-Partî), told KurdWatch: »The rental hall costs three hundred fifty thousand Syrian liras per year. Since I have invested a lot in renovations, city hall has thus far dispensed with the rent. The PYD did not even want to give me a receipt.«
Ad Darbasiyah: Supporters of the Kurdish National Council demonstrate
KUDWATCH, January 26, 2014—On January 20, 2014, several dozen supporters of the Kurdish National Council took part in a rally in ad Darbasiyah. The participants called for »Federalism for Syrian-Kurdistan« and declared their support for the representatives of the Kurdish National Council in the peace talks in Geneva.
Al-Qamishli: Funeral procession for YPG fighters
KURDWATCH, January 25, 2014—On January 15, 2014, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) organized a funeral procession for thirty-nine fighters in its People’s Defense Units (YPG) who were killed in Tall Hamis und Tall Birak. About a dozen additional fighters had already been laid to rest at other locations. The YPG has not yet commented on the total number of its fighters killed in Tall Hamis and Tall Birak [further information]. In the speeches held during the funeral procession, the parties of the Kurdish National Council were described as »traitors«. They were accused of not taking a clear enough stance against the Islamists in Tall Birak and Tall Hamis and thus being complicit in the deaths of the YPG fighters.
Al-Qamishli: National Organization of Kurdish Youth demonstrates with PYD
KURDWATCH, January 23, 2014—On January 17, 2014, the National Organization of Kurdish Youth called for people to take to the streets in al Qamishli to protest for the release of their member Amir Hamid Ahmad, who was kidnapped by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) [further information], as well as for the release of all Kurdish prisoners in the regime’s prisons. Instead, that same day, it organized a joint protest with a PYD affiliated youth organization, in which several dozen activists took part. Although the organizers had agreed not to carry flags, numerous PYD flags were visible. Also on January 17, two demonstrations by the Kurdish Youth Movement took place in al Qamishli and al Malikiyah (Dêrik). Several thousand activists participated in al Qamishli. The participants in both demonstrations called for the release of Kurdish prisoners from regime prisons.
Al-Qamishli: Islamists attack airport
KURDWATCH, January 23, 2014—On January 12, 2014, the al Qamishli airport was shelled with surface-to-surface missiles that were presumably fired from several Arab villages under Islamist control south of the city. At least three missiles struck nearby residential districts. A house was destroyed and one man suffered minor injuries.
Tall Hamis: Islamist fighters attack villages
KURDWATCH, January 22, 2014—After the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG) had to withdraw from Tall Hamis and Tall Birak [further information], Islamist units unsuccessfully tried to capture several villages between Tall Birak and al Qamishli on January 7, 2014. The villages in question include the Arab and Kurdish-inhabited villages of Tall ʿAmir and Tall Dahab (approximately twenty-five kilometers south of al Qamishli).
ʿAfrin: PYD prohibits demonstration
KURDWATCH, January 21, 2014—On December 31, 2013, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) broke up a rally in ʿAfrin shortly after it began. Between forty and fifty activists had gathered and shouted slogans that were critical of the regime. The Cooperation of Students from ʿAfrin, the Azadî Cooperation from ʿAfrin, and the Youth Cooperation from ʿAfrin called for the demonstration. According to unconfirmed rumors, there were kidnappings by the Asayiş, the security service of the PYD.
Al-Qamishli: State Security Service arrests journalist
KURDWATCH, January 16, 2014—On January 13, 2014, employees of the State Security Service arrested Muhammad Bashar Bahlawi, alias Peshawa Bahlawi (b. 1988 in al Qamishli), a journalist for the Iraqi-Kurdish television station Rudaw, in al Qamishli. The Democratic Union Party (PYD) stated that it wanted to take a stand for his release – thus far without success. Rudaw regularly reports from a critical perspective on the PYD’s activities.
Al-Malikiyah: PYD opens border crossing to Iraqi-Kurdistan
KURDWATCH, January 16, 2014—On January 7, 2014, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) re-opened the Faysh Khabur (Sê Malka) border crossing east of al Malikiyah (Dêrik). People appointed by the People’s Council of Western Kurdistan as well as by the Kurdish National Council are acting as border officials.