|Ash Shaddadi: Several dead and injured by IS suicide bombers
KurdWatch, May 31, 2016—On May 25, 2016, the Islamic State (IS) carried out several suicide bombings at checkpoints controlled by the People Defense Units (YPG) of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) close to the city of ash‑Shaddadi, which is located fifty kilometers south of al‑Hasakah. At least four YPG fighters were killed and another twenty injured. The number of casualties on the IS side is not known.
|ʿAfrin: Once again forced recruitment for the PYD
KurdWatch, May 31, 2016—On May 24 and 25, 2016, the Asayiş, the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) security service, forcibly recruited young men at random for the PYD’s People’s Defense Units (YPG) at several checkpoints in ʿAfrin as well as Raju, which is located twenty-five kilometers northwest of ʿAfrin and in Basuta, about eight kilometers south of the city. It is not known how many men were abducted.
|Ar-Raqqah: PYD launches offensive to capture city
KurdWatch, May 31, 2016—On May 24, 2016, the Syrian Democratic Forces, dominated by the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Forces (YPG), launched an offensive to seize ar‑Raqqah, the provincial capital now controlled by the Islamic State (IS). The Syrian Democratic Forces were able to capture a number of villages near Tall Shahin, which lies thirty kilometers north of ar‑Raqqah. The attack was supported by US air strikes. According to eyewitness accounts the offensive was also accompanied by members of the US army. The news agency AFP photographed armed US soldiers on a pickup truck north of ar‑Raqqah. One of the soldiers wore an YPG insignia. According to official information provided by the US, there are around three hundred US American special forces in Syria working as consultants.
|Bulbul: Residents send accused to the front
KurdWatch, May 30, 2016—On May 26, 2016, the Movement for a Democratic Society (TEV‑DEM), which is controlled by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), organized a public assembly in the center of Bulbul, which is located roughly thirty kilometers north of ʿAfrin, to ask the population to publicly sentence two accused by a vote. Two older fathers were accused of insulting the PYD’s People’s Defense Units (YPG). The crowd voted for one of three possible sentences: a six‑month prison sentence, ideological education, or to be sent to the front. According to a statement by the Hawar (ANHA) news agency, which has close ties to the PYD, the town residents gathered voted for the third sentence. The men sentenced are supposed to be sent to the front to see for themselves the bravery of the YPG and the Women’s Defense Units (YPJ). Whether or not they will be expected to fight was not outlined in the statement.
|ʿAmudah: A sixteen-year-old probably recruited to the YPG
KurdWatch, May 30, 2016—On May 23, 2016, the Asayiş, the security service of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), kidnapped the sixteen‑year‑old Zinar Majdal Qasim from his parents’ house in the village of Karanku, just a few kilometers southwest of ʿAmudah. No reason was given for the boy’s abduction. His relatives suspect that he was recruited to the PYD’s People’s Defense Units (YPG), since on that same day numerous young men were forcibly recruited from villages in the ʿAmudah area, including Karanku, Gir Ziro, Gir Ziyarat, Tabaqa, Jawhara und Tall Habash.
|Al-Qamishli: TEV‑DEMdemonstrates against attacks on Nusaybin
KurdWatch, May 30, 2016—On May 26, 2016, roughly one thousand supporters of the Movement for a Democratic Society (TEV‑DEM), which has close ties to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), demonstrated near al‑Qamishli on the Turkish-Syrian border. Those gathered were protesting against the attacks by the Turkish army on the Kurdish areas of the Turkish city of Nusaybin.
|Al-Qamishli: Three dead after an IS attack on a restaurant
KurdWatch, May 30, 2016—On May 21, 2016, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a restaurant on a street in the city center predominantly inhabited by Christians. The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack and alleged to have killed thirty fighters from the Sotoro militia, which is close to the regime. However, only the death of three civilians has been verified, all Christians.
|ʿAfrin: Explosion in a storage area for gas canisters
KurdWatch, May 27, 2016—On May 20, 2016, there was a series of explosions that lasted two hours in the city of ʿAfrin in a storage area for gas canisters. It is not known what caused the explosions. No deaths or injuries were reported.
|Tall Tamr: Seven dead after an attack on an Asayiş checkpoint
KurdWatch, May 27, 2016—On May 21, 2016, two suicide bombers and five employees of the Asayiş, the security service of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), died at an Asayiş checkpoint close to the village of al‑ʿAliya near Tall Tamr. Until now the motives of the suicide bombers, who blew up their car at the checkpoint, are not known.
|ʿAyn al ʿArab: YPG recruits two primary school students
KurdWatch, May 25, 2016—On March 25, 2016, cousins Samira ʿAbdu Shaikh Bozan (b. 2004) and Amal Mustafa Shaikh Bozan (b. 2003) were recruited for the People’s Defense Units (YPG) of the Democratic Union Party (PYD). The six-graders are from the village of Bira Khat, forty kilometers southeast of ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî). Their parents only found out two weeks later that their children had been recruited. When Samira’s father demanded her return saying that she was still a child and thus too young to carry a weapon, he was told that she’s old enough to make tea. Samira was allowed to temporarily return home on April 25 on account of illness. Thereafter, her father smuggled her into Turkey. When he returned to Syria on May 9, he was kidnapped by the YPG, who subsequently demanded the return of his underage daughter. »Additionally, the YPG threatened an uncle of Samira’s in Turkey over the phone. Her mother was also intimidated. They even asked her to positively depict her daughter’s recruitment to the media«, a relative told KurdWatch. Amal Mustafa Shaikh Bozan is still with the YPG.
|Al-Malikiyah: Asayiş abduct activist
KurdWatch, May 23, 2016—On May 11, 2016, the Asayiş, the security service of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), prevented Amira Tammu from exiting Syria at the Faish Khabur border crossing. Tammu is a leading member of the Kurdistan Women Union – Syria. She wanted to go to Iraqi‑Kurdistan with her four minor children. Whereas the children were allowed to cross the border, Tammu was detained by the Asayiş and abducted.
|Al-Hasakah: Progressive Party demonstrates against attacks in Aleppo and Nusaybin
KurdWatch, May 19, 2016—On May 7, 2016, around forty supporters of the Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party in Syria, including a number of students, held a demonstration in front of their party office in al‑Hasakah. Those gathered protested against the attacks by the Syrian opposition on the mainly Kurdish residents of the Aleppo neighborhood of Shaikh Maqsud as well as the attacks by the Turkish government on the city of Nusaybin, located in the Kurdish area of Turkey.
|Tall Abyad: Two killed by an explosion of a PYD vehicle
KurdWatch, May 19, 2016—On May 14, 2016, an explosion killed two fighters from the People’s Defense Units (YPG) of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) as they attempted to tow away a YPG vehicle. A mine had probably been attached to the vehicle.
|Al-Qamishli: Kurdish National Council demonstrates on the anniversary of the Sykes-Picot Agreement
KurdWatch, May 19, 2016—On May 14, 2016, the Kurdish National Council in Syria held rallies in al‑Qamishli, ʿAmudah, Tall Tamr, al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), ad‑Darbasiyah and Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê) on the one‑hundred‑year anniversary of the Sykes-Picot Agreement from May 16, 1916. The treaty saw the division of the former lands of the Ottoman Empire, including areas inhabited by Kurds, between Great Britain and France. Employees of the Asayiş, the security service of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), interrupted the rallies in al‑Maʿbada, al‑Qahtaniyah and ad‑Darbasiyah by racing past those gathered and beeping their car horns. In al‑Maʿbada, the Asayiş kidnapped Muhammad ʿAta Shaikhmus who was demonstrating. In al‑Jawadiyah young men were recruited to the PYD’s People’s Defense Units (YPG).
|Al-Qamishli: Meeting of PYD-affiliated organizations
KurdWatch, May 19, 2016—On May 13, 2016 in al‑Qamishli representatives of the Movement for a Democratic Society (TEV‑DEM), controlled by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), met with representatives of the Kurdish National Alliance in Syria, the Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party in Syria, and the Syrian Democratic Forces, also dominated by the PYD’s People’s Defense Units (YPG). The participants spoke out in favor of a unified Kurdish delegation at the peace talks in Geneva. In addition, they made a plea to the Iraqi Kurds to put pressure on the government of Iraqi‑Kurdistan to open the border crossing at Faish Khabur.