KURDWATCH WEST KURDISTAN REPORT OCTOBER 2013
Al-Qamishli: Following months of silence, activists again organize demonstration
KURDWATCH, October 19, 2013—On September 27, 2013, two dozen activists participated in a demonstration in the district of al‑ʿAntariyah in al‑Qamishli. Their banners were directed against »attacks by terrorist groups« and called for »freedom and federalism« in the Kurdish regions. The demonstration, which was organized by the general committee of the Kurdish Youth, and the independent Kurdish youth movement, both member organization of the Kurdish National Council, was the first demonstration by activists since July 20, 2013. Due to the attacks by the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG) on activists and members of other parties at the end of June 2013 in ʿAmudah [further information], independent activists had suspended their dissident demonstrations.
Al-Qamishli: Turkey builds wall to stem illegal immigration
KURDWATCH, November 1, 2013—Since early October 2013, the Turkish government has been building a wall along the Syrian border between the cities of al‑Qamishli and Nusaybin. According to media reports, the wall will be approximately two meters high and with barbed wire placed on top. Thus far there have been no official statements regarding the construction of the wall. According to information from the Turkish government, an additional wall, which will be approximately two and a half kilometers long, is planned in Hatay Province. It is unclear what such measures can accomplish in light of the nine hundred kilometer border between Syria and Turkey.
Aleppo: Detainees in Aleppo’s central prison undernourished
KURDWATCH, October 30, 2013—The prisoners in the central prison in Aleppo are suffering from malnutrition. Jigarkhwin Mula Ahmad, a recently released inmate, stated to KurdWatch: »For more than two months, the prisoners received only one glass of flour and one glass of water per day. They burned articles of clothing and other objects in order to cook or bake the flour. Dozens have died in recent months due to malnourishment. Under these circumstances any infection, even a mild flu, can lead to death.«
Aleppo: Deserting soldier severely tortured
KURDWATCH, October 30, 2013—On March 19, 2012, Hammudah ʿAdnan Hamkiro (b. 1989 in ʿAfrin) was arrested by members of the Military Intelligence Service. Hamkiro had deserted from military service in January 2012. He had been drafted even though he did not need to perform military service under Syrian law since he was his parents’ only son. In March 2012, he wanted to make use of a decree, according to which deserters would not be punished if they turned themselves in to security forces. Hamkiro was nevertheless arrested and was brutally tortured by members of the Military Intelligence Service until June 2012. Since June 2012 he has been held in the central prison in Aleppo.
Al-Qamishli: Explosive device injures civilians
KURDWATCH, October 24, 2013—On October 13, 2013, explosive devices were detonated in front of a hotel in the city center as well as in front of the customs office in the district of Qudurbak in al‑Qamishli. Two people were killed in the first explosion. The reasons behind the explosions are not yet known.
Al-Qamishli: Demonstrators call for the release of Husayn ʿIso
KURDWATCH, October 23, 2013—On October 18, 2013, approximately fifty activists participated in a demonstration in the western district of al‑Qamishli. Those gathered called for the release of the writer Husayn ʿIso [further information on the case] and other Kurdish prisoners from Syrian government prisons. Various youth groups and parties of the Kurdish National Council organized the protest.
Damascus: Kurdish activist released on bail
KURDWATCH, October 22, 2013—On September 11, 2013, the Terrorism Court in Damascus released the student and activist Jigarkhwin ʿAbdurrazzaq Mula Ahmad [further information on the case] from custody on bail, in so doing the court granted a petition by his attorney. Mula Ahmad was arrested on March 3, 2012 in Aleppo. Due to ongoing fighting, his case was transferred from the Military Court in Aleppo to the Terrorism Court in Damascus. Three judges, including one military judge, preside over the court, which was initiated by Presidential Decree 22 on July 15 2012. The defendants include both civilians and members of the military. On October 13, employees of the Syrian Red Crescent as well as the International Red Cross received Mula Ahmad in Aleppo. It is not yet known when the next court hearing will take place.
Al-Qamishli: YPG‑fighters fatally shoot father
KURDWATCH, 20, October 2013—On October 15, 2013, fighters for the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG) in Latifiyah (seven kilometers east of al‑Qamishli) fatally shot Husayn ʿAbdussalam Shakir (b. 1985 in al‑Qamishli, married, one child) and injured his cousin Erish ʿAbdulmajid Shakir. Hasan ʿAbdussalam Shakir, the twin brother of the deceased who is based in Germany, stated to KurdWatch: »It was the first day of the Feast of Sacrifice, my family had many guests. My cousin Erish offered tea to the YPG‑members who had set up a checkpoint in front of our front door and then politely asked them to move the checkpoint slightly. It was too close to our front door. The YPG‑members immediately became aggressive. They insulted my cousin and then tried to arrest him. When my brother Husayn tried to help him, the YPG‑men shot at the two of them. My brother died and my cousin’s leg was injured.«
Al-Qamishli: Student killed in mine explosion
KURDWATCH, October 16, 2013—On September 30, 2013, Muhammad Hasan (b. 1991 in al‑Qamishli), law student and member of the Kurdish Union Party in Syria (Yekîtî), was killed in a mine explosion while trying to cross the Syrian-Turkish border into Turkey near ad‑Darbasiyah.
Damascus: Detainee brutally tortured by National Defense Force
KurdWatch, October 14, 2013—On July 10, 2013, Jamal Ahmad ʿAli (b. in ad‑Darbasiyah) was arrested at a National Defense Force checkpoint in the majority Kurdish district of Wadi al‑Mashariʿ (Zorava) in Damascus. Muhammad Sadiq ʿAbdurrahman ʿUthman, a fellow prisoner, who has since been released , stated to KurdWatch: »When Jamal Ahmad ʿAli was stopped at the checkpoint, he was threatened with arrest if he did not pay one hundred thousand Syrian liras. He could not come up with this sum, therefore he was brought to us in the National Defense Force prison. Jamal was brutally tortured for six days. His back and legs were burned with boiling cooking oil.« ʿAli is accused of having helped soldiers to desert.