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KURDWATCH, October 20, 2014—On October 14, 2014, four female activists brought traffic to a halt on a main road in ʿAmudah. They carried posters demanding the release of young men kidnapped and forcibly recruited by the Asayiş, the security service of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), on October 11 2014 [further information].

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KURDWATCH, October 16, 2014—On October 11, 2014, employees of the Asayiş, the security service of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), detained Bahwar Mula Ahmad (b. 1981, married, three children), a member of the Kurdish Union Party in Syria (Yekîtî), for an hour in al‑Qamishli. Mula Ahmad, who works as a journalist, had tried to photograph employees of the Asayiş forcibly recruiting young men. Mula Ahmad was not tortured.

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KURDWATCH, October 16, 2014—On October 14, 2014, employees of the Asayiş, the security service of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), arbitrarily kidnapped young men between the ages of eighteen and thirty from the streets in all areas under PYD control. The majority of those kidnapped were released by the following day. They first had to sign that they would not leave the country and that they were ready to fight in the PYD’s People’s Defense Units (YPG) at any time. Should they fail to keep this agreement, their family will have to pay 500 000 Syrian Liras. They were also told verbally that a female member of their family would be recruited should their family fail to pay the required sum. Exact information about the number of people released as well as those still being detained is not available. A total of up to three thousand men are allegedly affected, including both Arabs and Christians. The Kurdish National Council condemned the action in a statement: »This unjustifiable measure by the PYD will push the remaining young men to leave the Kurdish regions.«

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KURDWATCH, October 15, 2014—On October 8, 2014, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) held a demonstration in az‑Zahriyah at‑Tahtaniyah, twenty kilometers east of al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), to protest the Turkish government’s unwillingness to arm the People’s Defense Units (YPG) fighting in ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî). On October 9, demonstrations took place in ʿAmudah and al‑Qamishli for the same reason, although the demonstration in ʿAmudah also commemorated the 1998 arrest of Abdullah Öcalan, chairman of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Dozens of participants in the demonstration in al‑Qamishli attempted to tear down the border fence to Turkey following the rally, and were assisted by PKK supporters on the Turkish side. Turkish soldiers subsequently shot at the demonstrators. An eight-year‑old boy was killed and three other participants were injured.

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KURDWATCH, October 15, 2014—On October 6, 2014, three car bombs exploded in al‑Hasakah—two in front of a barracks of the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG) and one in front of a YPG recruitment office. One of the two bombs in front of the barracks was time‑delayed, so that the explosion occurred when YPG fighters were trying to rescue the victims of the previous explosion. At least thirty people were killed and dozens more were injured.

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KURDWATCH, October 13, 2014—On October 5, 2014, employees of the Asayiş, the security service of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), stormed the office of the Kurdish National Council in Tall Tamr and kidnapped Qasim Janan, the chairman of the Kurdish National Council’s local committee for Tall Tamr. At the same time the Tall Tamr office of the Kurdish Union Party in Syria (Yekîtî) was also stormed and Bahjat Shaikhu, a member of the Central Committee, was beaten and then taken away. Several hours later, the Asayiş also stormed the home of Kamiran Shaikhu, a member of the Yekîtî’s local committee for Tall Tamr. Kamiran Shaikhu and his mother, who happened to be present, were also physically assaulted, and Kamiran Shaiku was kidnapped. Janan was released eight hours later, Bahjat Shaikhu twenty-four hours later, and Shaikhu two days later. There was no interrogation or any concrete allegations made against them.

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KURDWATCH, October 13, 2014—According to the most recent information, approximately two thousand persons who only wanted to flee with their possessions (tractors and similar large machinery) to Turkey are now bottled up at the Turkish border. Turkey is only allowing refugees without large baggage into the country. An exception has allegedly been made for roughly one thousand taxis.

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KURDWATCH, October 12, 2014—On September 28, 2014, the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG) began evacuating the population from areas south of the city of al‑Qamishli in which the Islamic State (IS) is strong. At least the villages of Tall Sharmukh, Tall Abu Khazaf, and Tulul Matlutah, approximately twenty-five kilometers southeast of al‑Qamishli, have already been evacuated.

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KURDWATCH, October 10, 2014—There are no civilians left in the city of ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), which has been under siege by the Islamic State (IS) for several weeks [further information]. The majority of the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG), which were still present at the beginning of fighting, have also left the city. The fighters are almost entirely PKK combatants. Refugees from ʿAyn al‑ʿArab, who fled to Suruç in Turkey, are accusing the PKK of engaging in a senseless fight since they claim the city cannot be held. A refugee, who wished to remain anonymous out of fear of repression, told KurdWatch: »We hope that in the end not only the Islamic State will be defeated, but also the PKK and the PYD. The PYD is complicit in the current situation; from the beginning it cooperated with the Syrian regime«.

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KURDWATCH, October 9, 2014—On October 4, 2014, employees of the Asayiş, the security service of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), banned and dissolved a demonstration organized by the Kurdish National Council in Tall Tamr. The demonstration was directed against the attack by the Islamic State (IS) on ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî). The Asayiş held Qasim Janan, chairman of the Kurdish National Council’s local committee in Tall Tamr, Kamiran Shaikhu, member of the Kurdish Union Party in Syria’s (Yekîtî) local committee in Tall Tamr, Fahd Abu ʿAqid, member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party – Syria (KDP‑S), as well as Yahya ʿAbdulhadi and Mahmud Sabri, both members of Nasruddin Ibrahim’s Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria (el‑Partî) for several hours. They were threatened with expulsion from Syria if they remain politically active.

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KURDWATCH, October 9, 2014—On September 20, 2014, fighters for the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG) recruited the thirteen-year-old studentʿAli ʿAbdullah ʿAli in al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê) without his parents’ consent. His family knows the base where he was assigned. Upon his mother’s inquiries, however, the YPG claimed to know nothing of the child’s whereabouts.

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New document: Law on Political Parties for the cantons of Jazirah, Kobanî, and ʿAfrin

KURDWATCH, September 30, 2014—On April 17, 2014, the legislative councils for the transitional administration, appointed by the Democratic Union Party, (PYD), passed a law on political parties for the cantons of Jazirah, Kobanî [ʿAyn al‑ʿArab], and ʿAfrin. The law defines the conditions under which parties can be registered. It sets a period of forty-five days and in that time all parties must apply for authorization. Until now none of the parties of the Kurdish National Council have complied with this demand. Both the Kurdish National Council and the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria have rejected the law. In a statement on August 28, 2014, the Kurdish National Council described the law on political parties as the most dangerous of the PYD laws, alongside the law on compulsory military service. Indeed, the law creates a »legal« basis for the persecution of other parties by the PYD. It is particularly problematic that the commissions that authorize the parties are not an objective authority. Instead they are comprised of government representatives from the three cantons. These governments were neither elected nor appointed by a representative delegation of Kurdish parties, but rather originated from the transitional administration established in November 2013 in a manner that was not transparent. According to the PYD, the transitional administration was established by fifty organizations, but these organizations were never made public. The few groups that were named either have close ties to the PYD or are unknown.
The policies defined in the law suggest a democratic procedure. The reality, however, is that the PYD makes decisions about what other parties receive authorization. The PYD’s previous policies vis-à-vis other parties make it clear that it will not authorize any party it sees as serious threat. This fear of competition is made clear in provisions such as the one that no political parties can have any ties to foreign parties. This provision can be used to ban parties like the Kurdistan Democratic Party – Syria (PDK‑S), the sister party of Masʿud Barzani’s Iraqi-Kurdish KDP. It can be safely assumed, however, that the PYD will not employ the law to ban itself, even though it is the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is based in Turkey.
The provision that parties may not maintain military forces is also telling. What is formulated as a reasonable measure to demilitarize society, is in fact intended to secure a monopoly on the use of force for the PYD’s People’s Defense Units (YPG) in PYD-controlled areas. If parties do not apply for authorization, the PYD will, with reference to the law, justify the persecution of these groups and their members as a legitimate state act against illegal activities.
[download PDF].

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New interview:
Nawaf ʿIsa ʿAli, former correspondent for Kurdistan TV in Sinjar (kurd. Şingal) in Iraq: »The PYD did not fight in Sinjar and it did not save the Yazidis; that is nothing more than propaganda«

KurdWatch, September 30, 2014—Nawaf ʿIsa ʿAli, b. 1978 in Sinjar (Şingal), married, two children, was the Sinjar correspondent for the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) station Kurdistan TV from 2007 to July 2014. When the Islamic State (IS) captured Sinjar on August 3, 2014, he was among the last persons still able to leave the region. In an interview with KurdWatch, ʿAli accuses military and political leaders in Sinjar of corruption and serious failures in the fight against the IS. At the same time, he contradicts the claim that the PKK »saved« the Yazidis in Sinjar. Nawaf ʿIsa ʿAli left Iraqi Kurdistan in August 2014 out of fear for his own safety.

[Read more]

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