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KUDWATCH, April 15, 2014—On April 7, 2014, approximately three hundred supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) took part in an anti-regime demonstration in al‑Qamishli on the day that marked the founding of the Baʿth party on April 7, 1947. At the demonstration, protestors labeled the Baʿth party as synonymous for oppression and as an enemy of the rights of the Kurds. Given the PYD’s means of mobilizing supporters, the number of demonstrators was small.

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KURDWATCH, April 14, 2014—Four members of the newly elected central committee of the Kurdistan Democratic Party — Syria, which is comprised of a total of fifty-one people, are women. A fifth woman, Najah Afandi, a former member of Mustafa Jumʿa’s Kurdish Freedom Party in Syria (Azadî), also received enough votes. She was rejected on the grounds that the maximum number of women on the central committee had been reached at four.

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KURDWATCH, April 14, 2014—Between April 3 and April 5, 2014, approximately 650 delegates of ʿAbdulhakim Bashar’s Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria (el‑Partî), Mustafa Jumʿa’s Kurdish Freedom Party in Syria (Azadî), Mustafa Oso’s Kurdish Freedom Party in Syria (Azadî), and the Kurdistani Union Party in Syria held a conference in Erbil and formed a new party. The four parties were dissolved and then merged as the Kurdistan Democratic Party — Syria. During the conference a central committee of thirty elected and twenty-one appointed members was formed. In its first session on April 6, the central committee elected Saʿud al‑Mulla, a former member of el‑Partî, as the new secretary general. A seventeen-member politburo was also elected.

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KURDWATCH, April 13, 2014—On April 2, 2014, employees of the Asayiş, the security service of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), kidnapped Bahjat Shaikho, a member of the Central Committee of the Kurdish Union Party in Syria (Yekîtî), as well as his cousin Kamiran Shaikho, a member of the Yekîtî’s local committee in Tall Tamr. The kidnapped victims were released on April 3. Employees of the PYD-led city hall of Tall Tamr had requested that Kamiran Shaiko pay a »business tax«. He initially complied with this request, but asked for his money back after he was told at the city hall run by the Baʿth government that he must also pay taxes there. In cities with a mix of Kurdish and Arab residents, such as Tall Tamr, al‑Qamishli, and al‑Hasakah, Baʿth government institutions exist parallel to PYD institutions. In contrast, in predominantly Kurdish cities, there are only PYD structures.

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KUDWATCH, April 11, 2014—On April 6, 2014, a demonstration took place in al‑Qamishli to mark the founding of the Baʿath party on April 7, 1947. Along with party members, hundreds of school students and state workers were once again required to participate.

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KURDWATCH, April 11, 2014—Employees of the transitional administration in the canton of Jazirah, which was appointed by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), regularly compel donations. A bakery owner told KurdWatch: »For nearly six months I’ve had to pay thousand and five hundred Syrian lira each month. If I don’t pay, I won’t receive any flour or diesel. I would then have to close my shop.« The distribution of flour and diesel in al‑Qamishli is currently administered by the Democratic Union Party (PYD). Donation receipts from the Directorate for Services issued specifically for bakeries were published on the Internet. However, these do not make clear to whom the donations were paid.

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KURDWATCH, April 10, 2014—Between March 22 and March 26 2014, serious armed conflict broke out west of the city of Tall Abyad between fighters for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant on the one side and fighters for the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG) and the Kurdish Front Brigade on the other. At least eight YPG‑fighters were killed; however, exact information on the total number of victims is not available.

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KURDWATCH, April 10, 2014—At the end of March 2014, fighters for the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant called on Kurdish families in Tall Abyad to leave their homes. Several dozen families subsequently fled to Turkey. The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant controls the city of Tall Abyad.

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KUDWATCH, April 7, 2014—On March 26, 2014, two fighters for the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG) were killed by a car bomb at a YPG checkpoint south of the city of al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî). Many more were injured.

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KUDWATCH, April 6, 2014—On March 27, 2014, employees of the Asayiş, the security service of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), broke up a demonstration by the Kurdish National Council in ad‑Darbasiyah and confiscated the public address system. The justification for this was that allegedly no authorization for the demonstration had been obtained from the Asayiş. The demonstration was directed at attacks by Islamist groups on ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî).

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KUDWATCH, April 5, 2014—On March 26, 2014, another solidarity rally for the Syrian government took place in al-Qamishli. Along with members of the ruling Baʿth party, hundreds of school students and state workers were required to participate.

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KURDWATCH, March 31, 2014—On March 16, 2014, supporters of the Kurdish National Council organized a rally in ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî) to mark the third anniversary of the Syrian revolution. The demonstrators (estimated between 1,000 and 1,500) demanded the fall of the regime.

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KURDWATCH, March 31, 2014—Since March 17, 2014, heavy fighting is taking place south and west of the city ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî) between fighters for the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, and fighters for the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG) together with Free Syrian Army (FSA)fighters. There is said to be numerous dead and injured on both sides.

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KURDWATCH, March 31,  2014—On March 17, 2014, members of the Asayiş, the security service of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), kidnapped Fauzi Majno, the director of the Amir-Ghobari-School, his son, five female students between the ages of thirteen and sixteen, as well as the brother of one of the students. The director and the students had taken part in a rally in ʿAfrin on March 16, 2014 to commemorate the victims of the poison gas attack on Halabja (Iraqi-Kurdistan) twenty-five years ago. The students were accused of possessing marijuana. On March 18, those kidnapped were released. During the kidnapping, Fauzi Majno was tortured.

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New interview:
Jigarkhwin ʿAbdurrazzaq Mula Ahmad: activist and former inmate of Aleppo’s central prison: »They used us as human shields«

KURDWATCH, March 18, 2014—Jigarkhwin ʿAbdurrazzaq Mula Ahmad (b. 1985 in al‑Qamishli) is a student and activist. He was arrested on March 3, 2012 in Aleppo and was released on bail on October 13, 2013 at the petition of his attorney. A trial against him is still pending. He spent several months of his imprisonment in Aleppo’s central prison. There he witnessed how dozens of fellow prisoners died of starvation or were killed by torture or military attacks.

[Read more]

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