Al-Qamishli: PYD kidnaps activist

KURDWATCH, September 4, 2013—On August 22, 2013, the Asayiş, the security service of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), kidnapped the activist Nubar Farhan Ismaʿil (b. 1986 in alQamishli), member of the media office of the SAWACoalition. The background for the abduction is unknown.

ʿAfrin: Demonstration against attacks by Islamist units

KURDWATCH, September 4, 2013—On August 23, 2013, the Supreme Kurdish Committee’s local committee in ʿAfrin demonstrated against attacks by Islamist units on the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG). In addition, the approximately one thousand participants, including supporters of the Kurdish National Council, condemned the attack on a PYD office the day before.

ʿAfrin: Casualties in explosion

KURDWATCH, September 3, 2013—On August 22, 2013, there was an explosion in front of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) office in ʿAfrin. The reasons for the explosion remain unclear. ʿArifah ʿAli and three of her children, Huda ʿAgid, Yasmin ʿAgid, and Muhammad ʿAgid, were killed. The Asayiş, the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) security service, has accused Mustafa Jʿuma’s Kurdish Freedom Party in Syria (Azadî) of being responsible for the attack.

Al-Qamishli: Azadî leaves Syrian National Council

KURDWATCH, September 3, 2013—On August 26, 2013, Mustafa Jʿuma’s Kurdish Freedom Party in Syria (Azadî) announced in a statement that it has left the Syrian National Council. The decision was made a few days after the Kurdish National Council set a deadline for all of its members to implement an earlier political decision according to which the parties must withdraw from all other political associations.

ʿAyn alʿArab: Fighting between YPG and FSA

KURDWATCH, August 30, 2013 – On August 7, 2013, heavy clashes occurred about fifteen kilometers west of ʿAyn alʿArab (Kobanî) between fighters for the Democratic Union Partys (PYD) Peoples Defense Units (YPG) and the Kurdish Front Brigade on the one side and Free Syrian Army (FSA) units, the Jabhat anNusrah, and the Islamic state of Iraq and the Levant on the other. On August 10, seven FSAunits concluded a peace agreement with the representatives of the Supreme Kurdish Committee. The units in question were the atTwhid-Brigade, the alIslam-Brigade, the Suqur-ashSham-Brigade, the Jund-alHaramayn-Brigade, the Ashabu-alYamin-Brigade, the Ahrar-ashShuyukh-Battalion, and the Ahrar-ashSham-alIslamiyah-Movement. The Jabhat anNusrah and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant were not part of the agreement. On August 15, 2013, fighting once again took place between these two groups and the YPG.

Al-Malikiyah: Dead and injured in air attack

KURDWATCH, August 26, 2013—On August 19, 2013, one person was killed and approximately twenty more suffered minor injuries in an air attack by the Syrian Air Force on the city of alMalikiyah (Dêrik). One bomb hit the bus station in the city center; another exploded in the northeastern part of the city. For more than a year, alMalikiyah has been controlled by the Democratic Union Party (PYD); the city was taken over from the government without conflict [further information]. The reason behind the attack is unknown. Islamist units, which are fighting against both the regime and the PYD, are stationed at least fifteen kilometers away from alMalikiyah. According to unconfirmed reports, the attacking military plane took off from the airport in alQamishli, which is controlled by the PYD.

Erbil: Alleged massacres of Kurds are being investigated

KURDWATCH, August 25, 2013—In early August 2013 the president of Iraqi-Kurdistan, Masʿud Barzani, proposed the establishment of a commission to investigate the alleged massacres of Kurdish civilians in Syria’s Kurdish regions in late June to early August 2013. An Iranian news network reported that Islamist fighters near Tall Abyad had allegedly killed four hundred fifty Kurdish civilians. These numbers were echoed by the Russian foreign minister. There was also talk of massacres in the villages of Tall Hasil and Tall ʿAran [further information]. In contrast, independent activists have reported to KurdWatch that there is no targeted campaign to annihilate the Kurds, but rather only the conflicts between the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG) and Islamist units. Civilians are also reportedly killed in these conflicts, but in far smaller numbers than assumed. The PYD initially rejected the establishment of an investigative commission with the explanation this would only serve »the enemies of the Kurds«. Ultimately an eight-member investigative team passed through the Faysh Khabur border crossing on August 19. The team includes a representative from the PKK headquarters in Iraqi-Kurdistan, one Kurd from both Turkish- and Iranian-Kurdistan, and one member each from the Iraqi-Kurdish Kurdistan Islamic Union, Masʿud Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Masʿud Barzani’s presidential office, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), and ʿAbdulhakim Bashar’s Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria(elPartî).

Aleppo: Kurdish Front Brigade withdraws from Kurdish villages

KURDWATCH, August 25, 2013 – On August 15, the Kurdish Front Brigade, an armed unit of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), released a statement that it was withdrawing its fighters from the districts of alBab and Azaz, in other words from the region between ʿAfrin and ʿAyn alʿArab (Kobanî). This step was justified as for the »safety of civilians«. There are various Kurdish villages in the aforementioned predominantly Arab regions. Units of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), including Islamist groups that were involved in fighting with the PYD and its armed militia, have controlled the regions for almost two years.

Raʾs al-ʿAyn: Nurse killed

KURDWATCH, August 25, 2013—On August 16, 2013, fighters for the Jabhat anNusrah fired at an ambulance near the Yazidi village of alAsadiya near Raʾs alʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), killing the nurse Khabat Farhan.

Al-Malikiyah: Thousands flee toward Iraqi-Kurdistan

KURDWATCH, August 20, 2013—On August 15, 2013, several thousand people, mostly whole families, gathered on the Syrian side of the Faysh Khabur border crossing, located east of alMalikiyah (Dêrik). They waited for hours in temperatures close to forty degrees for the border to open. The Kurdish regional government (KRG) had closed the border on May 20, 2013 due to the kidnapping of seventy-six members of ʿAbdulhakim Bashar’s Kurdish Democratic Party (elPartî) by fighters for the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG)  Late in the afternoon, at least five thousand people passed over the provisional bridge toward Iraqi-Kurdistan.