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KURDWATCH, June 29, 2015—On March 7, 2015, fifteen-year-old Iwan Waisi Kikiya (b.  March 17 1999 in ad‑Darbasiyah) was killed in action against the Islamic State (IS) in the village of al‑Aghibsh, two kilometers west of Tall Tamr. He had joined the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG) in August 2014. At that time, his father had been in prison in Damascus for several years, and his mother was a PYD sympathizer. His cousin ʿAli Jamil Kikiya told KurdWatch: »About twenty days after his recruitment, Iwan was sent to the front west of Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê). After fellow combatants were wounded and killed in an attack, he left the YPG, but he was later convinced to rejoin the fight.«

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KURDWATCH, June 28, 2015—On June 23, 2015, fighters for the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG) took over an important Islamic State (IS) military camp, the Brigade 93 base, which formerly belonged to the Syrian army. A few hours later, the city of ʿAin ʿIsa, thirty-five kilometers south of Tall Abyad, was also captured. YPG fighters are now only forty kilometers north of ar‑Raqqah, the Islamic State’s Syrian stronghold.

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KURDWATCH, June 27, 2015—On June 16, 2015, the Kurdish National Council held its third conference in al‑Qamishli. A total of 282 participants established a new body, the Council, which is comprised of eighty-one members. The following thirteen parties received three seats each, regardless of the party’s importance:
1. the Kurdish Union Party in Syria (Yekîtî) (chairman: Ibrahim Biro);
2. the Kurdistan Democratic Party – Syria (PDK‑S) (chairman: Siʿud Mala);
3. the Kurdish Democratic Advancement Party in Syria (chairman: ʿAbdulhamid Hajji Darwish);
4. the Kurdish Reform Movement – Syria (chairman: Faysal Yusuf);
5. the Kurdish Democratic Equality Party in Syria (chairman: Niʿmat Dawud;
6. the Kurdish Democratic Patriotic Party in Syria (chairman: Tahir Saʿdun Sifuk);
7. the Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria (el‑Partî) (chair: vacant);
8. the Kurdish Democratic Union Party in Syria (Democratic Yekîtî) (chairman: Kamiran Haj ʿAbdu);
9. the Kurdish Democratic Left Party in Syria (chairman: Shalal Gado);
10. the Kurdistan Left Party – Syria (chairman: Mahmud Mala);
11. the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria (chairman: Siamand Hajo);
12. the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria (head of the communication office: Narin Matini);
13. the Syrian Yazidi Council.
The partiesnames listed under points 7, 9, and 10 are all splinter groups of parties that were excluded from the Kurdish National Council due to their ties to the PYD [further information]. The Syrian-Kurdish Democratic Reconciliation (Rêkeftin), a splinter party of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), merged with the Kurdistan Left Party in June 2015.
The remaining forty-two seats in the Council were filled with nonpartisans elected by the independent members of the Kurdish National Council.
The conference’s planning committee presented a draft of bylaws to the participants. Following revisions by a legal commission, the members of the newly elected Council are to vote on the bylaws as well as on the Kurdish National Council’s program. In addition, Siamand Hajo’s Kurdish Future Movement submitted three proposals. The first recommends forming a military wing of the Kurdish National Council, the second calls for breaking off all contact with the Democratic Union Party (PYD), and the third outlines a suggestion for the future administration of the predominantly Kurdish regions in Syria. The first proposal was discussed in detail and a majority responded favorably. The existence of the other two proposals was announced, but they were not voted upon, as was intended in the proposals. The conference’s planning committee decided that the newly elected Council should discuss the proposals and also decide on them.

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KURDWATCH, June 25, 2015—According to statements from activists, on June 20, 2015, the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG) raided numerous villages in the ʿAfrin region and forcibly recruited approximately two hundred young men. The villages of Jindiras (Cindirêsê), Juwayq (Coqê), Raju (Reco), Shiran (Şêran), Kafr Jannah (Kefercenê), Maidan (Meydano), Shaykh Khuruz (Şêxorzê), Zaʿrah (Zerê), Bulbul (Bilbilê) and Shaykh al‑Hadid (Şiyê) were among the raided villages. At least two minors, sixteen-year-old Muhammad Rasho and seventeen-year-old Jiwan Khalo, were among the recruits. On June 23, relatives of the conscripts demanded their release. There are currently thirty-six camps in the ʿAfrin region in which the YPG trains its militiamen, including conscripts.

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KURDWATCH, June 24, 2015—On June 20, 2015, fighters for the Islamic State (IS) kidnapped approximately fifty Kurdish men from their homes in the city of ar‑Raqqah. Information on the fate of the kidnapped victims is not yet available.

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KURDWATCH, June 24, 2015—During the night of June 21 to June 22 2015, skirmishes broke out between fighters for the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG) and the National Defense Army, which is loyal to the regime. A civilian was killed in the confrontations. Background information as well as information on any additional victims is not available.

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KURDWATCH, June 23, 2015—On June 21, 2015, an employee of the Asayiş, the security service of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), was killed in a suicide attack in al‑Qamishli. The Asayiş supreme commander, Jiwan Ibrahim, told the PYD‑affiliated ANHA news agency that the bomber first shot and killed a guard in front of an Asayiş building. He then entered the building where he blew himself up, injuring three additional employees.

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KURDWATCH, June 23, 2015—On June 11, 2015, the Asayiş, the security service of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), released ʿAbdulhanan Habash, Ahmad Jamaluddin Saidu, and Mustafa Jamaluddin Saidu, three members of the ʿAfrin local committee of the Kurdistan Democratic Party – Syria (PDK‑S). Habash was kidnapped on May 21, 2015, the other two politicians on May 27, 2015. At the time of the kidnapping they were in their homes in the village of Raju, located twenty-five kilometers northwest of ʿAfrin.

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KURDWATCH, June 23, 2015—On June 8 and 9  2015, a conference of the Syrian opposition took place in Cairo at the invitation of the Egyptian government. Among the Kurdish participants were representatives of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the PYD-appointed transitional administrations for the cantons of Jazirah and Kobanî, the PYD‑affiliated women’s party Yekîtiya Star, the PYD’s People’s Defense Units, other PYD‑affiliated parties, as well as representatives of the parties joined in the Kurdish National Council. ʿAbdulhamid Hajji Darwish, the chairman of the Kurdish Advancement Party in Syria, was among the latter group. Representatives of the Kurdish Union Party in Syria (Yekîtî) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party – Syria (PDK‑S) did not attend the conference on the grounds that they had only received a personal invitation. The largest opposition alliance, the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, was also not represented as an organization. By contrast, the ten parties of the National Union of the Forces for Democratic Change, which has close ties to the regime, were represented. The PYD is also a part of this alliance. The conference’s closing statement, which formulates general principles for resolving the conflict in Syria, makes no mention of plans for the future administration of the predominantly Kurdish areas. An additional declaration, the so called national charter, states that the Syrian nation is comprised of Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians, Turkmen, and other ethnic groups and that they have legitimate ethnic rights in accordance with international agreements.

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KURDWATCH, June 21, 2015—On June 16, 2015, fighters for the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG) captured the entire city of Tall Abyad. Since capturing the Jabal ʿAbdulʿaziz (Çiyayê Kezwan) on June 5 [further information], the YPG has been able to advance a total of two hundred kilometers across a swath of territory between ten and twenty kilometers wide. Although the YPG advance was supported by air attacks by the US‑Air Force, the swift advance does suggest that heavy fighting with the Islamic State (IS) did not take place. When the YPG invaded Tall Abyad, it too had already been abandoned by most IS fighters. By June 20, the YPG had captured additional villages south of the city. On June 17, 2015, Salih Muslim, co-chairman of the PYD, told the Turkish newspaper Hürriyet that the Asayiş, the security service of the PYD, will share control of Tall Abyad with a YPG civilian administration. Employees of the transitional administration for the canton of Kobanî, which was appointed by the PYD, reported that Tall Abyad is to be integrated into the canton of Kobanî.

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New interview:
Nurman Ibrahim Khalifah, Student: »They told her: ›This PKK bullet is too good for you!‹ and shot her in the head«

KURDWATCH, May 30, 2015—Nurman Ibrahim Khalifah, b. 2001 in al-Hasakah, was thirteen years old and a ninth-grader when she was kidnapped by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and brought to a PKK military camp in Iraqi-Kurdistan, where she was to be trained as a guerilla fighter. After a month and a half, she was able to escape. Since the PYD has assumed power in Syrian-Kurdistan, minors have frequently been kidnapped or recruited against their parents’ will and deployed to the front lines. Nurman Ibrahim Khalifah is the first victim to speak about her experiences in an interview with KurdWatch. She is currently living in hiding in Europe.

[Read more]

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