PYD : Kurdish Party Rejects US Condemnation of ‘PYD’s Deadly Response’

Wladimir van Wilgenburg  – RUDAW – LONDON, United Kingdom – Iraq’s Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers Party and controls most of Syria’s Kurdish regions, rejected a US State Department statement, blaming the PYD for clashes in the town of Amude in which several Kurds were killed.On Monday, the State Department released a statement blaming the PYD for its “deadly response to peaceful demonstrations in the city of Amude, where PYD authorities have killed six people, wounded dozens, and detained 90 activists during several days of clashes.”

“There is no justification for these attacks or the PYD’s attempts to repress freedoms of expression and assembly by silencing those who peacefully advocate for democracy and human rights,” the statement said.  “We are appalled by reports of the PYD torturing detainees and demand that it immediately and unconditionally release all detained activists,” the statement said. But a press release by the PYD rejected the US statements, and suggested that the incident had not involved peaceful demonstrations, but an attack. “What happened in Amude was a conspiracy ambush set up by mercenaries affiliated to Jabhat Al-Nusra of 313 Brigade, while the Kurdish forces Popular Protection Units (YPG) were on their way to Qamishli,” the PYD claimed.

In a statement on Sunday, the 313 Brigade rejected the PYD statements that they were involved in the clashes, in which the PYD says several people were killed and wounded, including fighters on both sides, as well as civilians.

The PYD said that the Kurdish Asayish security forces arrested the suspicious individuals and later released all except those involved. “These precautions were taken by Kurdish security forces to prevent further chaos and to restore the security and stability in the city,” it said. It also rejected a claim that the detainees were tortured, saying that its forces were “respecting and complying with international human rights standards.”

To disprove claims of torture of detainees, the PYD security forces released a video showing their questioning of their captives. The video featured Dersim Adham, who was arrested on June 17, together with Walat Isma’il al-‘Umari, a pro-Kurdish National Council (KNC) activist, as well as Sarbast Najjari, member of Amude’s Local Coordination Committee.

Adham had claimed on social media sites that he had been tortured by his captors.

Aras Banco, a member of the Kurdish Unity Party, was killed in the tensions, and as a result the Unity Party withdrew from the Supreme Kurdish Council while holding memorials in Germany for Banco.

Following the clashes, KNC and PYD leaders held talks in Qamishli — Syria’s largest Kurdish city — to ease the tensions sparked by the deaths in Amude. But so far the two sides have not reached a solution. The Kurdish news website Welati reported that 10 activists were released after the US department statement, but that others still remain detained.