ʿAfrin/al-Qamishli: PYD sympathizers attack demonstrators in ʿAfrin and al-Qamishli
KURDWATCH, February 8, 2012—On February 3, 2012, organized attacks by sympathizers of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) injured at least 17 people in ʿAfrin. Armed PYD supporters surrounded approximately three hundred supporters of the Kurdish Patriotic Conference as they were gathering for a dissident demonstration. The PYD demanded that the demonstrators walk behind their flag. When the demonstrators refused and chanted »Azadî« (»Freedom«), they were attacked with billy clubs, knives, chains, and guns. During the assault the attackers yelled, among other things, »ʿAfrin is the city of martyrs, supporters of Erdoğan and Barzani have no business here« and showed pictures of Abdullah Öcalan. Syrian security forces did not intervene. Numerous demonstrators were brought to the hospital—however, some of them could not be treated as the PYD also continued its attacks there.The following demonstrators were injured—eight other injured were not willing to give their names:ʿAbdurrahman Najjar (attorney), Muhammad Jaʿfar, ʿUthman Khalil, Saurazan Muhammad, Dr. Ahmad Yusuf (member of the Kurdish Patriotic Conference), ʿAbdurrahman Apo (member of the politburo of the Kurdish Freedom Party in Syria [Azadî] and member of the Kurdish Patriotic Conference), Riyad Hanan Jamo, Fakhri Rashid, Masʿud Rashid, ʿAli Hasan, Hikmat Sheich Amad, Shiyar Bakir, Ahmad Mustafa, Hassan Abdo, Muhammad Ahmo, Rassul Aino, and Jigar (last name unknown). They primarily suffered injuries to their heads and hands; one activist’s ribs were broken. Several people needed to be operated on. In addition, Riyad Hanan Jamo’s identity card was stolen. According to eyewitness reports, only a few of the attackers came from ʿAfrin. Some of them, as one participant in the demonstration told KurdWatch, spoke a Kurdish dialect that is widespread in Turkey. A total of five demonstrations took place on February 3 in al-Qamishli: in the districts of al-Hilaliyah, al-Antariyah, Qudurbak, Kurnish and Qanat Suwais. Syrian security forces arrested several people. During the demonstration in al-Antariyah, PYD thugs attacked activists who were filming the protests with the explanation that only employees of the PKK stations Roj-TV and Ronahi-TV were allowed to make such recordings. Three activists suffered serious head injuries. In ʿAmudah, two parallel demonstrations took place. Sympathizers of the PYD did not organize their own rally this week. Demonstrators also took to the streets in other parts of the country to demand the fall of the regime. In Homs, in particular, skirmishes between Syrian security forces, civilians, and soldiers of the »Free Syrian Army« resulted in hundreds of dead and injured demonstrators. The protests took place under the slogan »Forgive us, Hamah«, which evoked the bombing of the city of Hamah by the Syrian Army in 1982.