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KURDWATCH, February 28, 2015—On February 18, 2015, fighters for the Islamic State (IS) opened fire on two oil transporters near the village of as‑Suwaydiyah, thirty kilometers south of al‑Malikiyah. They also kidnapped Sabah ʿUmar Hamdan (b. 1982), who happened to be present. As‑Suwaydiyah is controlled by the Democratic Union Party (PYD). By attacking oil transporters, the IS is attempting to influence the PYD’s sources of income.

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KURDWATCH, February 28, 2015—In early February, members of the Democratic Union Party painted over a large mural of Syrian president Bashar al‑Assad for the first time. Pictures of the PYD and YPG‑flags are now located at the strategically important As‑Sabbagh roundabout.

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KURDWATCH, February 28, 2015—On February 22, 2015, several hundred Turkish soldiers crossed the Syrian-Turkish border near ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî) with military vehicles and advanced approximately thirty kilometers into the interior of the country. They evacuated approximately forty Turkish soldiers who were guarding the tomb of Sulayman Shah, the grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire. The Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its People’s Defense Units (YPG) assisted the Turkish units with the operation. The remains of Sulayman Shah were also evacuated. According to Turkish sources, they were brought to another Syrian region.

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KURDWATCH, February 28, 2015 – On February 11, 2015, a statement was released on the official website of the Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria (el‑Partî) in which the party’s membership in the Kurdish Decision-making Body was described as frozen »until the question of the party’s membership in the Kurdish National Council is resolved«. On February 12, Party Secretary Nasruddin Ibrahim said on his Facebook page that this information is false. A statement by the party’s politburo supported his view. Ibrahim himself took part in a meeting of the Kurdish Decision-making Body on February 12.

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KURDWATCH, February 27, 2015—On February 21, 2015, fighters for the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG) started a major offensive against Islamic State (IS) positions seventy kilometers south of al‑Qamishli. In the course of this, YPG‑fighters crossed Iraqi territory in the direction of Tall Hamis and advanced into territory under IS control. The Iraqi-Kurdish peshmerga supported the attack with artillery fire. According to information from the YPG, by 23. February, two dozen villages had been captured.

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KURDWATCH, February 25, 2015—On February 19, 2015, the Kurdish Decision-making Body met in al‑Qamishli and selected five members each for the committee to reform the local administration and the committee on military issues [further information]. Four members of each committee belong to TEV‑DEM, one member of each committee is from one of the parties expelled from the Kurdish National Council [further information]. The Kurdish National Council will soon name four additional members to each committee.

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KURDWATCH, February 24, 2015—On February 15, 2015, employees of the Asayiş, the security service of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), forcibly recruited the student Luʾay Muhammad Amin ʿAli (b. 1989 in Tall Maʿruf) in downtown al‑Qamishli. He was transferred to the PYD’s People’s Defense Units (YPG).

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KURDWATCH, February 24, 2015—On February 15, 2015, supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) commemorated the 1999 arrest of Abdullah Öcalan, the chairman of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Approximately two thousand people took part in a demonstration in ʿAfrin to mark the anniversary.

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KURDWATCH, February 21, 2015—On February 15, 2015, supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) commemorated the 1999 arrest of Abdullah Öcalan, the chairman of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). To mark this occasion, PYD members forced all store owners in al‑Qamishli to close their businesses or face a large fine. The power supply to several streets was interrupted to substantiate the demand.

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KURDWATCH, February 19, 2015—On February 7, 2015, employees of the Asayiş, the security service of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), forcibly recruited Khalaf Muhammad ʿAli ʿAskar (b. 1996 in al‑Malikiyah) at a checkpoint in al‑Malikiyah. When relatives of the Kurdistan Democratic Party – Syria (PDK‑S) member approached the PYD’s People’s Defense Units and demanded his return, they were told they would see their son again in six months.

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New interview:
Ahmad Mustafa, former member of the dissident Youth Movement of Aleppo: »I wish that international human rights organizations would put pressure on the PYD so that they would return my son to me«

KURDWATCH, Februar 4, 2015—At the beginning of the Syrian revolution, Ahmad Muhammad Mustafa, b. 1977 in Khaltan near ʿAfrin, became involved with the dissident Youth Movement of Aleppo. To punish him, the PKK had his wife murdered and kidnapped his son. To this day, Ahmad Mustafa is wanted by the PKK. He has been living abroad since 2013.

[Read more]

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