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KURDWATCH, December 30, 2012—On December 24, 2012, members of the Democratic Union Party's (PYD) People's Defense Units (YPG) kidnapped six activists at a dissident rally inʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî). Those kidnapped were Hammudah ʿAbbas, Rawan Shaykh Nabi, Kawa Ramadan Shaykhu, Mustafa Shaykhu, Habash Hami, and one additional person. The activists, who had been spectators at the ceremony marking the founding of the Free Syrian Army's Nusur-Kobani battalion, were accused of belonging to the Free Syrian Army. After an intervention by the Free Syrian Army's Kurdish Military Council, the activists were released on December 25. Otherwise, the PYD had been threatened with consequences.

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KURDWATCH, December 29, 2012—Ongoing fighting between the Free Syrian Army and government troops on December 21, 2012 resulted again in numerous dead and injured. The fighting was concentrated in the economic center of Aleppo, the capital of Damascus, and the area around Hama. Throughout the country, demonstrators united under the slogan »Victory is written on the gates of Aleppo« took to the streets to demand the fall of the regime. Supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) demonstrated under their own slogan »Our will is stronger than your embargo«. They accused Free Syrian Army groups of obstructing the transport of food and energy to the Kurdish areas. Some supporters of the Kurdish National Council also carried banners with similar content, without agreeing on a specific slogan. In al‑Qamishli one demonstration took place in each of the districts of al‑ʿAntariyah (organized by the Biratî, Rojava, Shaykh Maʿshuq and Farhad Martyrs youth groups) and Munir Habib (organized by the Kurdish National Council), as well as at the Qasimo mosque in the western district (organized by the PYD). In ʿAmudah there were three demonstrations, organized by the PYD, the Kurdish National Council, and various youth groups. Three demonstrations also took place in al‑Hasakah. Two demonstrations—one organized by the PYD and the other by the Kurdish National Council—took place in each of the cities of ad‑Darbasiyah, ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), and al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî). One demonstration organized by the PYD took place in al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik). In al‑Malikiyah and al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), the Kurdish National Council's weekly demonstrations took place on Saturday, not on Friday. There were no protests in ʿAfrin or Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), nor in the mainly Kurdish districts of Aleppo and Damascus.

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KURDWATCH, December 26, 2012—Ongoing fighting between the Free Syrian Army and government troops on December 14, 2012 resulted again in numerous dead and injured. The fighting was concentrated in the economic center of Aleppo and in the capital of Damascus. Throughout the country, demonstrators united under the slogan »There is no terrorism in Syria besides the terrorism of Assad« took to the streets to demand the fall of the regime. The People's Council of West Kurdistan once again did not organize any demonstrations this Friday; there was only a funeral procession for a member of the Democratic Union Party's (PYD) People's Defense Units (YPG) who had been killed in Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê). Supporters of the Kurdish National Council took to the streets under the slogan »Blood siblings«. Two demonstrations took place in al‑Qamishli in the districts of al‑ʿAntariyah (organized by the Biratî, Rojava, Shaykh Maʿshuq and Farhad Martyrs youth groups) and Munir Habib (organized by the Kurdish National Council). There were also two demonstrations in ʿAmudah, organized by the Kurdish National Council and various youth groups. Three demonstrations took place in al‑Hasakah. In al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik) and al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), the weekly demonstrations by the Kurdish National Council took place on Saturday, not on Friday. In ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), supporters of both the Kurdish National Council and the Free Syrian Army participated in a demonstration. For weeks there have been conflicts there due to supporters of the Free Syrian Army shouting Islamic slogans, and the PYD reacting with violence. There were no protests in ad‑Darbasiyah, al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), or Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), nor in the Kurdish districts of Aleppo and Damascus.

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KURDWATCH, December 24, 2012—In the night from December 13 to 14 2012, the Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê) office of the Kurdish Freedom Party in Syria (Azadî) was completely gutted by fire. Mustafa Oso, secretary of the party, told KurdWatch: »Due to the critical situation in Raʾs al‑ʿAyn, and because no party member was in the office that night, we have not yet been able to determine who is responsible for the fire.« In a party press release, arson was not ruled out as a cause of the fire. Moreover, the incident was tied to the founding of the Kurdish Democratic Political Union – Syria on December 15, 2012.

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KURDWATCH, December 24, 2012—On December 11, 2012, several rockets hit the mainly Kurdish district of Shaykh Maqsud in Aleppo. At least fourteen people were killed, and at least twenty additional people were severely injured. It is not known if this was a targeted attack on the district.

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KURDWATCH, December 21, 2012—On December 16, 2012, Rodi Ibrahim was released from the custody of the Air Force Intelligence Service [further information on the case]. Until the morning of December 18, he was being treated at the hospital in al‑Qamishli.

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KURDWATCH, December 19, 2012—Only two days after the first armed conflicts between the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Democratic Union Party's (PYD) People's Defense Units (YPG) [further information], renewed fighting broke out between these groups on November 21, 22, and 23 2012. On November 24, representatives of both sides entered into negotiations. Nevertheless, the ceasefire was broken on December 6, and on December 12, 13, and 14, the FSA deployed rocket launchers in severe attacks on the YPG. The FSA's attempt to expand fighting to villages between Raʾs al‑ʿAyn and ad‑Darbasiyah has failed. Since December 15, 2012, negotiations between the two sides have resumed.

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KURDWATCH, December 19, 2012—On December  2012, the Syrian Air Force attacked Free Syrian Army (FSA) positions in Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê). As a result, residential districts in which FSA fighters were entrenched were bombed. At least four civilians were killed. Numerous residents fled the city, which had already been bombed in mid-November [further information]. On December 12 and 15, Syrian planes also attacked FSA positions in Arab villages around Tall Tamr (30 kilometer southeast of Raʾs al‑ʿAyn). Several FSA‑fighters were allegedly killed.

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KURDWATCH, December 18, 2012—On November 27, 2012, a bomb exploded in the trunk of the private car belonging to ʿAtuf ʿAbdu, the local chairman of the People's Council of West Kurdistan in ʿAfrin. ʿAbdu was slightly injured. The apparent cause of the attack is unknown.

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KURDWATCH, December 16, 2012—On December 12, 2012, Rodi Ibrahim (b. 1977, married, three children) was arrested by employees of the Air Force Intelligence Service at the Zelal youth center in al‑Qamishli. Ibrahim is the head of the youth center and is accused of training »radical groups« there. Three of the center's computers were confiscated. After paying bribes, Ibrahim's relatives were able to visit him on December 14. They reported to KurdWatch that he is being tortured.

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KURDWATCH, December 14, 2012—Nationwide protests on December 7, 2012, resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators united under the slogan »No to [UN] peacekeeping forces in Syria« took to the streets to demand the fall of the regime. The People's Council of West Kurdistan did not organize any demonstrations on this Friday. Due to heavy rain, participation in the Kurdish National Council's demonstrations was very low. Only two demonstrations took place in al‑Qamishli in the districts of al‑ʿAntariyah (organized by the Biratî, Rojava, Shaikh Maʿshuq and Farhad Martyrs youth groups) and Munir Habib (organized by the Kurdish National Council). One demonstration, organized by the Kurdish National Council and various youth groups, took place in each of the cities of ʿAmudah and ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî). There were two demonstrations in al‑Hasakah. In al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik) and al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), the weekly demonstrations by the Kurdish National Council took place on Saturday, not on Friday. There were no protests in ad‑Darbasiyah, al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), or Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), nor in the mainly Kurdish districts in Aleppo. In the Kurdish district of Ruknuddin in Damascus, supporters of the Free Syrian Army organized nighttime demonstrations.

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KURDWATCH, December 14, 2012—On November 12, 2012, following the military conflicts in Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê) [further information], twelve Kurdish youth groups in al‑Qamishli called on the »sons of the Kurdish people of all regions« and the Kurdish youth in Iraqi-Kurdistan and abroad to protect the people and the country and to free it from dictatorship.
The following groups were involved:
Kurdish Youth Assembly al‑Qamishli (Syrian National Council)
Kurdish Youth Movement (Kurdish National Council)
Spring of the Free Youth (Syrian National Council)
Cooperation of National Unity
Observatory Council of the Kurdish Future Movement (Syrian National Council)
Movement of Syrian-Kurdistan
Movement of the Sun of Freedom
Martyr Mishʿal-at‑Tammu Cooperation (Syrian National Council)
Youth of the Birth of Freedom (Syrian National Council)
Movement of Revolutionary Youth (Kurdish National Council)
Sawa Youth Coalition (Syrian National Council)
Union of Cooperation of Kurdish Youth in Syria (Syrian National Council and Kurdish National Council)

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KURDWATCH, December 12, 2012—On December 1, 2012, armed members of the Arab tribe Tay occupied the building of the private al‑Maʾmun University in al‑Qamishli. They were supporters of the local tribal leader, Muhammad Faris, who is considered close to the regime. When members of the Democratic Union Party's (PYD) People's Defense Units (YPG) subsequently attempted to surround the building, shots were exchanged. Shortly thereafter, the Tay left the building. Several of them had been wounded; one person succumbed to injuries on December 5.

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KURDWATCH, December 9, 2012—On November 9, 2012, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) took over numerous institutions in the city of ad‑Darbasiyah from the Syrian regime [further information]. According to the most recent information, this also included the Air Force Intelligence Service building, city hall, the court of arbitration, and the electric and water utilities. There is no police presence in the cities of ʿAmudah, ad‑Darbasiyah, and al‑Malikiya (Dêrik) anymore. Government employees who do not work in security continue to perform their duties and their salaries are still paid from Damascus. However, their work is controlled by the PYD. Thus, for example, a PYD cadre was delegated to city hall in ad‑Darbasiyah. The PYD flag has been raised in front of the institutions that have been taken over.
An activist reported to KurdWatch that following the takeover of the Military Intelligence Service building in ad‑Darbasiyah, PYD members burned documents that remained there. Members of other security services had done this themselves before leaving their buildings.

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KURDWATCH, December 8, 2012—Nationwide protests on November 30, 2012, resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators united under the slogan »The fingers of victory [are] over the [Presidential] Palace« took to the streets to demand the fall of the regime. After representatives of the Kurdish National Council and the People's Council of West Kurdistan agreed on November 25 in Erbil to resolve all of the problems remaining between them, their supporters demonstrated under the slogan »Common fight«. However, the demonstrations of the two councils remained separate. In al‑Qamishli, one demonstration took place in each of the districts of al‑ʿAntariyah (organized by the Biratî, Rojava, Shaykh Maʿshuq and Farhad Martyrs youth groups), Kurnish (organized by supporters of the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria under Rezan Bari Shaykhmus, the Sewa youth group, and other independent youth groups), and Munir Habib (organized by the Kurdish national Council), as well as at the Qasimo mosque in the western district (organized by the Democratic Union Party [PYD]). Three demonstrations took place in ʿAmudah, organized by the PYD, the Kurdish National Council, and various youth groups. Three demonstrations also took place in al-Hasakah. Two demonstrations, organized by the PYD and the Kurdish National Council, took place in both ad‑Darbasiyah and al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî). The PYD organized a demonstration in ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî). In addition, KNR supporters again took to the streets despite that a week ago the local committee of the Kurdish National Council called on its supporters to forgo demonstrations for two weeks. In al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik) and al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), the weekly demonstrations of the Kurdish National Council took place on Saturday, not on Friday. There were no protests in al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa) or Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), nor were there any in the Kurdish districts of Aleppo and Damascus.

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KURDWATCH, December 5, 2012—From November 23 to 25, 2012, talks between the Kurdish National Council and the People's Council of West Kurdistan took place in Erbil at the invitation of Masʿud Barzani. On November 25, the participants issued a press release that announced the adherence to all points of the Erbil Agreement of June 11, 2012 [download document], the »resolution of all problems«, and the protection of social peace. In addition, the two councils agreed to form committees and joint, specialized executive boards to »protect the people« and to safeguard »connections abroad in the service of the common political line«. The sentence regarding the joint protection of the people has been understood by many observers as an agreement to form a joint Kurdish army and as an indication of the dissolution of the Democratic Union Party's (PYD) People's Defense Units  (YPG). The YPG released a statement later that same day emphasizing that it would not unite with any other power; the YPG is only »united with the people«. On November 28, 2012, the YPG qualified this statement, stating that, as a »patriotic unit«, it is subject to all agreements and decisions of the Supreme Kurdish Committee. The November 25 declaration should be understood as a reaction to the fact that the announcement by both councils was interpreted by numerous commentators, on the internet in particular, as the dissolution of the YPG.

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KURDWATCH, December 1, 2012—After armed Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups marched into the majority Kurdish city of Raʾs al‑ʿAin (Serê Kaniyê) on November 8, 2012 [further information], the Syrian regime ceded control of several predominantly Kurdish cities to the Democratic Union Party (PYD). On November 9, and 10, 2012, Syrian security forces in ad‑Darbasiyah withdrew from the buildings belonging to the Political Security Directorate, the Military Intelligence Service, the State Security Service, and the police; they also gave the PYD control of the border crossing to Turkey. In Tall Tamr, security forces abandoned the buildings belonging to the police, the State Security Service, and the Military Intelligence Service. In ʿAmudah, the buildings belonging to the Political Security Directorate, the Military Intelligence Service, and the Recruitment Office were ceded to the PYD. On November 12, 2012 in al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), the government withdrew from the buildings belonging to the Political Security Directorate, the Military Intelligence Service, the State Security Service, the police, and the Baʿth party, and ceded a checkpoint on one of the main access roads to the PYD. The government had already withdrawn from several institutions in the latter two cities in the summer of 2012 [further information].

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KURDWATCH, November 30, 2012—In early November 2012, the Kurdish Union Party in Syria (Yekîtî) formed an armed unit in ʿAmuda – the Martyr Tahsin Mamo battalion. Mamo was a member of the Yekîtî and died while in custody in 2008 [further information on the case]. A Yekîtî member from ʿAmudah told KurdWatch that the battalion was established »to protect the people in an emergency«.

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KURDWATCH, November 29, 2012—Nationwide protests on November 23, 2012 resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators united under the slogan »The hour and the time of victory have come« took to the streets to demand the fall of the regime. Supporters of the Kurdish National Council and many Kurdish youth groups demonstrated under various slogans, while supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) took to the streets under the slogan »The resistance of Serê Kaniyê«. In al‑Qamishli there was one demonstration in each of the districts of al-ʿAntariyah (organized by the Biratî, Rojava, Shaykh Maʿshuq and Farhad Martyrs youth groups), Kurnish (organized by supporters of the Kurdish Future Movement under Rezan Bari Shaykhmus, the Sewa youth group, and other independent youth groups) and Munir Habib (organized by the Kurdish National Council), as well as at the Qasimo mosque in the western district (organized by the PYD). In al-ʿAntariyah, members of the Shaykh Maʿshuq youth group, which has close ties to the Kurdish Union Party in Syria (Yekîtî), organized a sort of military parade, though the participants marched in military clothing, they were unarmed. Three separate demonstrations took place in ʿAmudah, organized by the PYD, the Kurdish National Council, and by various youth groups. Three demonstrations also took place in al-Hasakah. Two demonstrations, organized by the PYD and the Kurdish National Council, took place in both ad‑Darbasiyah and al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî). The PYD organized a demonstration in ʿAyn al-ʿArab (Kobanî); in contrast the local committee of the Kurdish National Council called on its supporters to forgo demonstration for two weeks. Nevertheless approximately 2,000 KNR supporters took to the streets in Ayn al‑ʿArab. A PYD demonstration took place in both Raju and Jindiras near ʿAfrin. In al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik) and al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), the weekly demonstrations of the Kurdish National Council took place on Saturday, not on Friday. There were no protests in al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa) or Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), or in the mainly Kurdish districts in Aleppo and Damascus.

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KURDWATCH, November 28, 2012—On October 28, 2012, armed conflicts broke out near the Yazidi village of Qastal Jindu near ʿAfrin. The conflicts occurred between units of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the Free Syrian Army's (FSA) Storm of the North Brigade, led by ʿAmmar al‑Dadikhi alias Abu Ibrahim. Fighters for the Storm of the North Brigade conquered the PYD checkpoint and arrested two PYD supporters. Shortly thereafter fighters for the ʿAmr ibn al‑ʿAs unit led by Ahmad ʿUbaid forced the Storm of the North Brigade out of Qastal Jindu; the PYD returned to the village. The exact reasons for the conflicts between the PYD and the various FSA units are unclear, but it is certain that the conflicts were not, as the PYD claims, anti-Yazidi attacks by the FSA on Qastal Jindu.

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KURDWATCH, November 26, 2012—Nationwide protests on November 16, 2012 resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Through the country, demonstrators united under the slogan »Support for the National Coalition [of revolutionary and oppositional Syrian forces]« took to the streets to demand the fall of the regime. In light of the armed confrontations in Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê) [further information], all of the Kurdish parties demonstrated under the slogan »No to foreign armed groups«. Despite the High Kurdish Committee's call for the organization of joint demonstrations, the Kurdish National Council and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) only held separate demonstrations this Friday. The PYD held the coalition made up of ʿAbdulhakim Bashar's Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria (el‑Partî), the Kurdish Union Party in Syria (Yekîtî), and Mustafa Jumʿa's Kurdish Freedom Party in Syria (Azadî) responsible [further information on the coalition between the parties]. In al‑Qamishli, one demonstration took place in each of the districts of al‑ʿAntariyah (organized by the Biratî, Rojava, Shaykh Maʿshuq, and Martyr Farhad youth groups), Kurnish (organized by supporters of the Kurdish Future Movement in Syrian under Rezan Bari Shaykhmus, the Sewa youth group, and other independent youth groups) and Munir Habib (organized by the Kurdish National Council), as well as at the Qasimo mosque in the western district (organized by the PYD). In ʿAmudah, three separate demonstrations took place, organized by the PYD, the Kurdish National Council, and by various youth groups. Three demonstrations also took place in al‑Hasakah. Two demonstrations, organized by the PYD and the Kurdish National Council, took place in each of the cities of al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), ad‑Darbasiyah, al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), and ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî). There were no protests in al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), and ʿAfrin or in the mainly Kurdish districts of Aleppo and Damascus.

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KURDWATCH, November 24, 2012—On November 12, 13, and 14, 2012, Syrian Air Force planes, supported by ground-to-ground missiles, attacked Free Syrian Army (FSA) positions in Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê). In the process residential districts in which FSA fighters were entrenched were also bombed. As many residents had already fled the city shortly after the FSA's invasion on November 8, 2012 [further information], the number of civilian deaths—at least twelve—remained relatively low. Turkish ambulances brought the injured to the nearby Turkish city of Ceylanpınar. There are no reliable figures on the number of dead among the ranks of the FSA.

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KURDWATCH, November 23, 2012—On November 19, 2012, armed confrontations between the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and units of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) took place in the eastern part of the city of Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê). An activist from Raʾs al‑ʿAyn told KurdWatch that prior to the fighting, FSA representatives demanded that all PYD flags between Raʾs al‑ʿAyn and al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik) be removed. FSA representatives explained that this was an order from the Turkish government, who supports them. The chief negotiator for the PYD wanted to discuss the matter first. The activist from Raʾs al‑ʿAyn further stated: »At first [on November 8, 2012] approximately five hundred FSA fighters came from Turkey. Around a hundred stayed at the border; the remaining four hundred marched into the city. Later, around two hundred additional fighters came from ar‑Raqqah; they were joined by other people from the area. It isn't really very many, but they are Islamists and they have come to die.« According to his estimates, the PYD has around one thousand armed fighters in the region.

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KURDWATCH, November 21, 2012—Between October 30, 2012, and November 17, 2012, the local branches of ʿAbdulhakim Bashar's Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria (el‑Partî), the Kurdish Union Party in Syria (Yekîtî), and Mustafa Djumʿa's Kurdish Freedom Party in Syria (Azadî) formed joint leadership committees in Ayn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), the Aleppo region (including ʿAfrin), Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), ad‑Darbasiyah, ar‑Raqqah, Tall Abyad (Girê Sipî), al‑Qamishli, al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), and ʿAmudah. »Our goal is to better coordinate and more efficiently structure our political work,« a Yekîtî member told KurdWatch. However, there are no plans to form a new party. The Kurdish National Council (KNC) also maintains such committees in a number of Kurdish cities.

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KURDWATCH, November 18, 2012—Nationwide protests on November 9, 2012 resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators united under the slogan »It is time to march into Damascus« took to the streets to demand the fall of the regime. Supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) demonstrated under the slogan »Great resistance, worthy life«. In al‑Qamishli, one demonstration took place in each of the districts of al‑ʿAntariyah (organized by the Biratî, Rojava, Shaykh Maʿshuq, and Farhad Martyrs youth groups), Kurnish (organized by supporters of the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria under Rezan Bari Shaykhmus, the Sewa youth group, and other independent youth groups), and Munir Habib (organized by the Kurdish National Council), as well as at the Qasimo mosque in the western district (organized by the PYD). In ʿAmudah, two separate demonstrations took place—one organized by the Kurdish National Council and various youth groups, and the other organized by the PYD. Two demonstrations, organized by the PYD and the Kurdish National Council, took place in each of the cities of al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), ad‑Darbasiyah, and al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa). In ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî) the PYD organized a demonstration; in addition, an activist died there when members of the PYD's People's Protection Units (YPG) opened fire on a demonstration organized by the Kurdish National Council, numerous youth groups, and the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria under Rezan Bari Shaikhmus [further information on the case]. After members of the Free Syrian Army conquered the city of Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê) [further information], there were no demonstrations there this Friday. While PYD supporters in Ayn al‑ʿArab opened fire on demonstrators for carrying an FSA flag, in Raʾs al‑ʿAyn they raised their flag together with the FSA flag. Four demonstrations took place in al‑Hasakah. There were no protests in al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), and ʿAfrin, as well as in the Kurdish districts of Aleppo and Damascus.

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KURDWATCH, November 17, 2012—The medical student Dara Nawaf ʿAbdullah (b. 1989 in al‑Qamishli), who was arrested on October 23, 2012 in Damascus [further information on the case], was released from the custody of the State Security Service on November 12, 2012. On the day of his arrest, ʿAbdullah was subjected to torture. Furthermore, while in custody he was put under pressure to stop publishing articles that are critical of the regime. No charges were raised.

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KURDWATCH, November 16, 2012—On November 9, 2012, supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî) attacked the Friday demonstration organized by the Kurdish National Council, various youth groups, and the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria under Rezan Bahri Shaykmus. PYD supporters armed with knives and clubs blocked the path of the demonstrators, chanted slogans against the Free Syrian Army (FSA), and called on demonstrators to lay down the Syrian independence flag. Violence broke out between PYD‑supporters and demonstrators, at which point fighters for the People's Defense Units (YPG) opened fire on the demonstrators. In addition, the YPG attacked the party offices of the Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party in Syria and Mustafa Khidr Oso's Kurdish Freedom Party in Syria (Azadî). The demonstrators Walat Muhammad Salih Miho (b. 1995), Renas Husayn, Diyar Muhammad Ibrahim Hido, Fatima Dahar, Samar Dahar, and Mariam Dahar were injured. Miho, who was taken to Turkey for treatment, succumbed to his injuries there. PKK-affiliated media claimed that those in question were injured by shots fired from the Azadî office. On November 10, Miho, who was a member of ʿAbdulhakim Bashar's Kurdish Democratic Party and a member of the Kobanî coordinating group, was buried in ʿAyn al‑ʿArab; thousands of activists participated. The mourners demanded the fall of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and described them as government militias. The speech by a representative of the Free Syrian Army was interrupted multiple times by shows of support.

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KURDWATCH, November 15, 2012—Following armed conflicts between the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) [further information] a meeting was held between representatives of the PYD and its People's Protection Units  (YPG) and representatives of the FSA, including members of the newly formed Kurdish Military Council in Aleppo and representatives of Islamic units. The meeting was brought to light by a video uploaded to YouTube on November 1, 2012; PYD-affiliated media released parts of the agreement concluded at the meeting on November 4. The following resolutions were read by an FSA member:
1. The signatories stand united for the Syrian revolution and against the Assad regime; the battle is being waged peacefully and militarily; the overthrow of the regime is the goal of every Syrian, whether Arab or Kurd.
2. The formation of a civilian and a military committee, as well as security committee, composed of members of the Free Syrian Army and the Kurdish parties [it remains unclear which specific parties are meant], in order to administer the Kurdish regions in Aleppo province and resolve the conflicts that have developed.
3. The immediate release of detainees from the prisons of all parties involved under the supervision of a committee composed of members of both parties and on the condition that those released are not criminals or collaborators with the regime.
4. The end of all campaigns of mutual accusations and the implementation of a positive discourse for the Syrian revolution.
5. The immediate end to the imposition of taxes; monitoring and penalization of these heinous acts.
6. The removal of all checkpoints that impede the operations of the Free Syrian Army or the establishment of joint checkpoints with the knowledge of the military committee and the security committee.
7. Respect for religious freedom and civil and political rights.
8. Support for activists and supporters of the Syrian revolution, Arabs, Kurds, and all other societal groups as well as deserters of the Assad regime.
9. The elimination of all tensions and clashes in the contested regions under the supervision of the joint military committee; the attainment of a quick solution which satisfies all sides.
10. The return of all confiscated weapons, ammunition, and vehicles to their owners.

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KURDWATCH, November 14, 2012—In the early morning of November 8, 2012, units of the Free Syrian Army's (FSA) Ghurabaʾ-al‑Sham battalion attacked Syrian Army positions in the city of Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê). The FSA's invasion occurred via the southern and western access roads. According to some sources, fighters also came across the Turkish border. The FSA conquered all positions and checkpoints belonging to the Syrian government, as well as the border crossing to Turkey and the headquarters of the Political Security Directorate and the Military Intelligence Service, where government security forces had barricaded themselves. Reliable information on the number of dead among the ranks of the FSA and the government are not available. Numerous civilians fled to Turkey and to the surrounding cities and towns. At least one civilian was killed; the person in question was Yazan al‑Khatib from Dair az‑Zaur. The Democratic Union Party's (PYD) People's Defense Units (YPG), which take a critical stance towards the FSA, initially reacted cautiously. Reports of possible cooperation between the YPG and the FSA could not be confirmed. On November 9, 2012, the Democratic Society Movement of West Kurdistan (TEV‑DEM), an umbrella association of PKK-affiliated organizations in Syria, called on all armed groups to leave the city. Otherwise, according to the TEV‑DEM's declaration, they would be treated as enemies. The Supreme Kurdish Committee, which is comprised of representatives from the Kurdish Council and the People's Council of West Kurdistan, also called for the withdrawal of armed groups. They based this demand on the need to protect the people from government counterattacks.

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KURDWATCH, November 12, 2012—Shaha ʿAli ʿAbdo, alias Nujin Derik, the YPG commander from Aleppo who was kidnapped by a unit of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) on November 1, 2012 and whom the Democratic Union Party (PYD) had already declared dead, has been free since November 11, 2012 [further information on the case]. Neither the FSA nor the People's Defense Units (YPG) gave any further details about her release.

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KURDWATCH, November 10, 2012—On November 1, 2012, the Democratic Union Party's (PYD) People's Defense Units (YPG) announced that a Free Syrian Army (FSA) unit had kidnapped Shaha ʿAli ʿAbdo alias Nujin Derik from a joint meeting in Aleppo and killed the YPG commander from Aleppo that same day. Derik was supposed to hand over the bodies of FSA‑members who had been killed in conflicts in al‑Ashrafiyah [further information]. On November 3, 2012, YPG gave another statement that according to sources affiliated with the FSA, Derik had not been killed, but taken prisoner. By this point, her supposed murder was already being used for propaganda purposes: the PYD had organized numerous demonstrations to remember the commander and a youth group affiliated with the PYD had stated that about thousand of its members had joined the YPG following Derik's death.

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KURDWATCH, November 10, 2012—Nationwide protests on November 2, 2012 resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators united under the slogan »Daraiyah, brothers and sisters of grapes and blood« took to the streets and demanded the fall of the regime. Supporters of the Kurdish National Council as well as numerous youth groups chose the slogan »No to demagoguery, yes to unity«. Supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) demonstrated under the slogan »Friday of the martyr Nujin Derik«, which referred to a commander of the People's Defense Units (YPG), who, according to statements by the YPG, had been killed by the Free Syrian Army—the YPG recanted this statement a few days later. In al‑Qamishli, one demonstration took place in each of the districts of al‑ʿAntariyah (organized by the Biratî, Rojava, Shaykh Maʿshuq and Farhad Martyrs youth groups), Kurnish (organized by supporters of the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria under Rezan Bari Shaykhmus, the Sewa youth group, and other independent youth groups), and Munir Habib (organized by the Kurdish National Council), as well as at the Qasimo mosque in the western district (organized by the PYD). The PYD‑demonstration was accompanied by a military parade. During a Kurdish National Council demonstration in al‑ʿAntariyah, armed YPG members attempted to force demonstrators to lay down the Syrian independence flag. In ʿAmudah, two separate demonstrations took place, one organized by the Kurdish National Council along with various youth groups and the other by the PYD. Two demonstrations, organized by the PYD and the Kurdish National Council, took place in each of the cities of al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), ad‑Darbasiyah, al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), and Ayn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî). In Ayn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî) YPG fighters also tried to intimidate the demonstrators and demanded that they lay down the Syrian independence flag. Four demonstrations took place in al‑Hasakah. During the Kurdish National Council demonstration in the district of al‑Salihiyah, YPG‑fighters drove their vehicles into the crowd and tore up the Syrian independence flag. In al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), two demonstrations took place on Saturday, organized by the PYD and the Kurdish National Council. There were no protests in ʿAfrin or in the mainly Kurdish districts of Aleppo and Damascus.

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KURDWATCH, November 7, 2012—In a statement on October 28, 2012, the Kurdish National Council attacked the People's Council of West Kurdistan with sharp words and demanded an official apology. Armed groups of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is a member of this PKK caucus, were accused of having attacked the party offices of member parties of the Kurdish National Council in ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî) and having torn the Syrian independence flag from the fall. Moreover the PYD was blamed for the kidnapping of National Council member Bahzad Dursun [further information on the case] and for attacks on Kurdish activists.

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KURDWATCH, November 7, 2012—On October 31, 2012, ʿAbdulkarim Sako and a group of his supporters held a party congress for the Kurdish Democratic Party—Syria, at which Sako was elected Secretary General. Sako and his supporters had left the party's first party congress following the death of the previous chairman ʿAbdurrahman Aluji [further information], after Dr. Lazgin Mahmud Fakhri was elected Secretary General. The split in the party is thus official.

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KURDWATCH, November 6, 2012—On October 27, 2012, heavily armed members of the Democratic Union Party's (PYD) People's Defense Units (YPG) attacked the offices of various member parties of the Kurdish National Council in ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî). The attack occurred a few hours after the expiration of the deadline that the PYD had set for the parties to remove the Syrian independence flag of 1948 from their offices. A large portion of the opposition considers the flag to be the flag of the revolution against the Syrian regime. The offices of the Kurdish Union Party in Syria (Yekîtî), the Kurdish Democratic Advancement Party in Syria, Mustafa Khidr Oso's Kurdish Freedom Party in Syria (Azadî), and Nasruddin Ibrahim's Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria (el‑Partî) were attacked. Members of the YPG tore the independence flags from the wall; some shots were fired. Several dozen armed members of ʿAbdulhakim Bashar's Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria gathered in front of their office and were thus able to prevent an attack. A few hours after the attack, the independence flags were again hung in the party offices. Supporters of the PYD justified the attacks on the basis that many Kurds were killed under the independence flag in al‑Ashrafiyah,[further information].

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KURDWATCH, November 5, 2012—Nationwide protests on October 26, 2012 resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators demanded the fall of the regime. In large parts of the country, protesters took to the streets under the slogan »Allah is the greatest; he helped his servant to victory and his soldiers to glory, and he defeated the enemy alone«. Supporters of the Kurdish National Council and many Kurdish youth groups chose the slogan, »We are ready to sacrifice ourselves for a free Syria«. This week supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) organized only one demonstration that took place in the mainly Kurdish district of al‑Ashrafiyah in Aleppo. The demonstration's participants demanded the withdrawal of Free Syrian Army units from al‑Aschrafiyah [further information on the case]. In the Kurdish regions, PYD supporters visited relatives of the PKK fighters who were killed in combat with the Turkish army in recent decades and organized commemorative rallies at cemeteries. In al‑Qamishli, one demonstration took place in each of the districts of al‑ʿAntariyah (organized by the Biratî, Rojava, Shaykh Maʿshuq and Farhad Martyrs youth groups), Kurnish (organized by supporters of the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria under Rezan Bari Shaykhmus, the Sewa youth groups, and other independent youth groups) and Munir Habib (organized by the Kurdish National Council). For the first time in many months a joint demonstration organized by the Kurdish National Council and various youth groups took place in ʿAmudah. In al‑Hasakah, three demonstrations took place. One protest march, organized by the Kurdish National Council and various youth groups, took place in each of the cities of al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), ad‑Darbasiyah, Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê) and ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî). There were no protests in ʿAfrin or in the mainly Kurdish districts in Damascus.

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KURDWATCH, November 5, 2012—On October 25, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) briefly captured large parts of the mainly Kurdish district of al‑Ashrafiyah in Aleppo from the Syrian regime and the Democratic Union Party's (PYD) People's Defense Units [further information]. On October 26, conflicts arose between the FSA and the PYD's People's Defense Units. When a FSA friendly demonstration, organized by coordination groups and protected by the Salahuddin-al‑Aiyubi battalion, began in front of the Salahuddin mosque, the PYD organized a counter-demonstration. The People's Defense Units accompanied the demonstration. The demonstrators demanded the FSA's withdrawal from al‑Ashrafiyah. According to statements by an activist, as the demonstrations approached each other, the FSA fired into the air. The People's Protection Units responded by shooting into the crowd. According to the PYD, however, the FSA had immediately fired at the counter-demonstrators. Twelve people were allegedly killed, including seven members of the Salahuddin-al‑Aiyubi battalion. According to other reports, at least ten PYD supporters died—including many from the ranks of the demonstrators—as did fifteen members of the FSA Following the conflict, the PYD arrested several members of the FSA, prompting the FSA to stop around fifty minibuses near Haian on the road between Aleppo and ʿAfrin. Women and children were released, but approximately three hundred men were arbitrarily arrested. In negotiations with the PYD, the FSA declared that it would hand over the detainees on the condition that the PYD abandon its checkpoints in ʿAfrin and hand over the Suqur-al-Kurd battalion and the Yusuf-al-ʿAzmah battalion, which were founded in early October, to the FSA. Both battalions are comprised of Kurds from ʿAfrin. The PYD rejected this demand. On October 27, 2012, negotiations took place between the Kurdish National Council and the FSA, as a result of which, the detainees were released—the last of them on October 29.
In an interview with the website , Malik al‑Kurdi, Deputy Chairman of the FSA, described the advancement into al‑Ashrafiyah as a mistake and specified inner-Kurdish conflicts as the cause. According to al‑Kurdi, Kurdish groups within the FSA, first and foremost, the Salahuddin-al‑Aiyubi battalion, had pushed to end PYD control in several districts in Aleppo. In a press release, the leadership of the Salahuddin-al‑Aiyubi battalion contradicted al‑Kurdi's account and further explained that the FSA would not recognize the FSA leadership living in Turkey.

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KURDWATCH, November 5, 2012—On October 25, 2012, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) captured large parts of the main road to ʿAnadan und ʿAfrin over the course of clashes in the northwest of the city of Aleppo. In the process, they advanced deep into to the mainly Kurdish district of al‑Ashrafiyah, which is controlled by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), as well as into the mainly Christian district of al‑Suriani. The Syrian Army responded by firing rockets at the districts in question. Numerous civilians died, including: Shukri Muhammad Kurin, Rodin Shaykhu, Mustafa Shaykh Mustafa, Shiyar Habib Hamo, Subhi Saydo Karo, Khalil Mustafa Muhammad, Hasan Rashid Kurin, Rashid Ibrahim, Ahmad Kamal ʿAkash, Samah ʿAbdurrahman Schaikhu, ʿAbdulqadir Tammu, and Khadija Nasif Hulu.

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KURDWATCH, November 3, 2012—On October 24, 2012, masked persons assaulted Yawar ʿAli (member of Mustafa Jumʿa's Kurdish Freedom Party in Syria [Azadî]) while he was distributing party journals in ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî). According to a press release by the Azadî, the attackers thereby threatened bodily harm to anyone who distributed Azadî journals.

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KURDWATCH, November 3, 2012—On October 24, 2012, Nidal Hawran (member of ʿAbdulhakim Bashar's Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria) and Bahzad Dursun (chairman of the local committee of the Kurdish National Council in al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik) and member of the politburo of ʿAbdulhakim Bashar's Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria) disappeared in al‑Malikiyah. In a press release, ʿAbdulhakim Bashar accused the Democratic Union Party's (PYD) People's Defense Units (YPG) of kidnapping Dursun and Hawran.

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KURDWATCH, November 3, 2012—Since August 2012, Syrian forces that were previously stationed in ʿAfrin have been pulled back to the town of Qibari, about seven kilometers from ʿAfrin. Of the original 1200 soldiers, as many as 900 are said to have deserted, though the number of soldiers supposedly was increased again to around 700. The Democratic Union Party's (PYD) People's Defense Units have established a checkpoint on the access road to Qibari. Syrian security forces remain stationed in other cities in the Kurdish region, such as al‑Qamishli. Although the number of soldiers there is said to have greatly increased since the beginning of the unrest, most are currently inactive.

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KURDWATCH, November 2, 2012—On October 8, 2012, the Iraqi-Kurdish website and the website , a site affiliated with the Democratic Union Party (PYD), published a document intended as proof of the existence of a secret agreement between the Syrian Kurds and the Turkish government. The document, which was distributed via PYD media as well as at some of the PYD's demonstrations in Syria, reports of a secret meeting on September 2, 2012 in Erbil. The following Syrian Kurds are said to have taken part in the meeting: ʿAbdulbaqi Yusuf (Representative of the Kurdish Union Party in Syria [Yekîtî]), ʿAbdulbasit Hammu (Representative of the Kurdistan Union Party in Syria), ʿAbdulhakim Bashar (Secretary General of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party in Syria [el‑Partî]), Nuruddin Hamid Brimo (Secretary General of the Kurdish Truth Party in Northern Iraq [according to the information in the document – in fact, Brimo is a representative of ʿAbdulhakim Bashar's el‑Partî in Northern Iraq]), and the politician Salah Badruddin, who is regarded in PKK‑circles as a traitor financed by Turkey. In addition, the following people were also said to have been present: the Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister, the US ambassador to Jordan, a representative of the Israeli Embassy in Germany, a representative of the Israeli intelligence service Mossad, Masrur Barzani (head of security for Kurdistan Democratic Party [KDP]), Kosrat Rasul ʿAli (first deputy chairman of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan [PUK], Jalal Talabani), Fadil Mirani (Secretary General of the Kurdistan Democratic Party [KDP]), Nechirvan Barzani (Prime Minister of Iraqi-Kurdistan), and his predecessor Barham Salih. The document states that Turkey does not reject a federal structure in Syria and will support the Syrian-Kurdish opposition financially and militarily. The condition for this is the establishment of a Turkish military airport and a military base south of the city of al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), as well as the establishment of another military airport near ʿAfrin and another military base southwest of ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî).
The document is clearly PYD/PKK propaganda intended to prove the existence of a conspiracy between the Syrian Kurds and the »enemies« of the PKK—Turkey, Iraqi-Kurdistan, the USA, and Israel.

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KURDWATCH, November 1,  2012—On October 19, 2012, members of the Democratic Union Party's (PYD) People's Defense Units broke up a rally in front of the Amir Ghubari secondary school for girls. The rally was organized by the Newroz girls' group, the rally's participants were female students in the seventh to twelfth grades. They demanded the fall of the regime.

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KURDWATCH, November 1, 2012—On October 23, 2012, the medical student Dara Nawaf Abdullah (b.  1989 in al-Qamishli) was arrested by the State Security Service in Damascus. Abdullah is a member of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party in Syria (Democratic Yekîtî) and has published dissident articles in Arab journals. In his articles, Abdullah endorses peaceful protests and warns against the militarization of the revolution.

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KURDWATCH, October 30, 2012—Ahmad as‑Sino, member of the politburo of Nasruddin Ibrahim's Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria (el‑Partî) and of the Kurdish National Council, was released from custody on October 23, 2012. Members of the Political Security Directorate arrested him at the al‑Qamishli airport on October 22. As‑Sino was a member of a delegation of the Kurdish National Council and was on the way to Damascus at the invitation of UN Special Representative Brahimi. All other members of the delegation were able to board their flight. As‑Sino was accused of having participated in dissident demonstrations; no charges were brought.

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KURDWATCH, October 29, 2012—On October 20, 2012, Muhammad Sabri Ose (b. 1986 in ʿAyn Diwar, married, no children) and Muhammad Sharif Yusuf ʿAbbas (b. 1982 in al‑Maʿbada [Girkê Legê], married, one child) were killed in their homes during a Syrian Army rocket attack on the village of as‑Sabinah (five kilometers south of Damascus).

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KURDWATCH, October 28, 2012—On October 16, 2012, several masked people kidnapped the activist Azad Muhammad ʿAta (b. 1984 in al-Malikiyah) in front of a school in al Malikiyah (Dêrik). According to eyewitnesses, the kidnappers drove a silver taxi. The reasons for the kidnapping are not yet known. The town of al-Malikiyah is currently controlled by the Democratic Union Party (PYD).

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KURDWATCH, October 28, 2012—On October 15, 2012, an attack by the Syrian Air Force near ʿAnadan (ten kilometers north of Aleppo) once again hit a minivan. Ruwayda al‑ʿAbdullah, ʿAbdo Mustafa Qarbuz, and Walid Khalil Khanjar were killed and numerous other people were injured. ʿAnadan is located on route between Turkey and Aleppo, a route through which the Free Syrian Army (FSA) is supplied with weapons and ammunition.

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KURDWATCH, October 25, 2012—Nationwide protests on October 19, 2012 resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators demanded the fall of the regime. In large parts of the country, protestors took to the streets under the slogan »America, hasn't your hate been satisfied by our blood?« Supporters of the Kurdish National Council and many Kurdish youth groups decided against this slogan and protested under their own slogan »No celebrations [the Feast of Sacrifice] in the shadow of the Baʿth regimes«. Supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) demonstrated under the motto »Young people are a guarantee for a free future«. In al‑Qamishli, one demonstration took place in each of the districts of al‑ʿAntariyah (organized by the Biratî, Rojava, Shaykh Maʿshuq and Farhad Martyrs youth groups), Kurnish (organized by supporters of the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria under Rezan Bari Shaykhmus, the Sewa youth group, and other independent youth groups) and Munir Habib (organized by the Kurdish National Council). Two protest marches by PYD supporters—one from ad‑Darbasiyah and the other from al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik)—arrived in al‑Qamishli and joined together in an event to remember the 1998 arrest of Abdullah Öcalan in Kenya. The participants in the protests had begun marching several days earlier. In ʿAmudah, three separate demonstrations took place, organized by the PYD, the Kurdish National Council, and various youth groups. Three demonstrations also took place in al‑Hasakah. A funeral march for the burial of Adib Mala Sulayman [further information on the case] took place in ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî). In Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), a jointly organized demonstration split into three separate protest marches, led by the Kurdish National Council, the PYD, and several youth groups. As has been the case for several months, no Friday demonstrations took place in al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê) and al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik); demonstrations were held during the week. There were no protests in ʿAfrin or in the mainly Kurdish districts of Aleppo and Damascus.

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KURDWATCH, October 24, 2012—On October 17, 2012, Adib ʿAbdurrahman Mala Sulayman (b. 1966 in ʿAyn al‑ʿArab [Kobanî], married, seven children) and two of his sons were hit in their private vehicle and severely injured during a Syrian Air Force attack near al‑Bab (fifty kilometers northeast of Aleppo). Sulayman succumbed to his injuries the same day. The Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party in Syria, of which Sulayman was a member, organized a funeral service for the deceased on October 19 in ʿAyn al‑ʿArab [Kobanî].

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KURDWATCH, October 24, 2012—On October 10, 2012, the Saudi news channel al‑ʿArabiya published classified Syrian documents according to which Bashar al‑Assad allegedly instructed the Air Force Intelligence Service to assassinate Mishʿal at‑Tammu [further information on the case]. In the first of the documents, which was »delivered to accounting« on October 9, 2011, Brigadier General Saqr Manun instructed Colonel Jawdat Hasan to carry out the aforementioned order. In the second, undated document, Manun informs the President that Mishʿal at‑Tammu, his son Marsil, and the Kurdish activist Zahida Rashkilo were killed on 7. October 2011. In fact, the latter two survived the attack with injuries [download interview with Zahida Rashkilo]. In addition, the document refers to writing by the president on September 22, 2011 concerning an »operation« that is intended to prompt Turkish leadership to take a neutral and cooperative stance toward the Syrian crisis.

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KURDWATCH, October 21, 2012—A total of seven people were killed and numerous others injured in Syrian Air Force attacks on two minivans near ʿAnadan (ten kilometers  north of Aleppo) on October 5 and 9, 2012. On October 5, Yasmin ʿUmar (married, two children), Mustafa Muslim ʿAbdulmajid, and ʿAbdurrahman ʿUmar (b. 1975 in ʿAfrin) were killed. Hanifa Yusuf, Havin Shamo, Kamiran Muhammad ʿAli, and Manan Hanif ʿAli died on October 9.

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KURDWATCH, October 21, 2012—Two children, ʿAliya Muhyiddin ʿIsa and Ahmad Ramadan, were killed in missile attacks in the mainly Kurdish district of Shaykh Maqsud in Aleppo on September 30, 2012. Twelve additional people are said to have been injured by the rockets, some severely.

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KURDWATCH, October 18, 2012—Nationwide protests on October 12, 2012, resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators demanded the fall of the regime. In large parts of the country, protestors took to the streets under the slogan »The freemen of the coast are carving out our victory«. Supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) demonstrated under the motto »We congratulate Leader Öcalan on his resistance«. In al‑Qamishli, one demonstration took place in each of the districts of al‑ʿAntariyah (organized by the Biratî, Rojava, Shaykh Maʿschuq, and Farhad Martyrs youth groups), Kurnish (organized by supporters of the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria under Rezan Bari Shaykhmus, the Sewa youth group, and other independent youth groups), and Munir Habib (organized by the Kurdish National Council), as well as at the Qasimo mosque in the western district (organized by the PYD). In ʿAmudah there were three separate demonstrations, organized by the PYD, the Kurdish National Council, and various youth groups. Three demonstrations also took place in al‑Hasakah. Two demonstrations, organized by the Kurdish National Council and the PYD, took place in each of the cities of ad‑Darbasiyah, Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), and al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî). A protest organized by the Kurdish National Council took place in al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa). The PYD demonstrated in Tall Tamr, al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), and al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik). A protest march of PYD supporters, which had started south of Basuta on Thursday, arrived in ʿAfrin; the protestors remembered the arrest of Abdullah Öcalan in 1998 in Kenya. There were no protests in the mainly Kurdish districts of Aleppo and Damascus.

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KURDWATCH, October 17, 2012—On October 4 and 12,  2012, shots were exchanged between Syrian security forces and members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) near the al‑Qamishli airport on the main road toward al‑Hasakah. The exchanges lasted approximately an hour the first time and roughly fifteen minutes, the second time.

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KURDWATCH, October 17, 2012—On October 3, 2012, Syrian security forces, including Syrian Army soldiers, stormed several houses in the majority Kurdish district of Wadi al‑Mashariʿ (Zorava) in Damascus and arrested the fifty-year-old ʿAbdurrahman Khalid and the thirty-eight-year-old Rascal Tamr Yaʿqub. Khalid had already been arrested on March 5 along with his three sons and one of Rashal Tamr Yaʿqub's brothers [further information on the case]. The reasons behind the raid and the arrests are not yet known.

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KURDWATCH, October 16, 2012—On October 2, 2012, Hogir Bashir ʿArabo (b. in ad Darbasiyah), a member of the Democratic Union Party's (PYD) People's Defense Units, was fatally shot by Turkish border guards. According to statements by the People's Defense Units, the fighters Tamr Hawass and Mazlum Rashad were also injured. ʿArabo was buried in ad Darbasiyah the same day.

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KURDWATCH, October 16, 2012—On October 5, only a few days after the formation of joint security committees, the local committee of the Kurdish National Council in ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî) ended its involvement in the Supreme Kurdish Committee, which is comprised of representatives from the Kurdish National Council and the People's Council of West Kurdistan. The decision was based on the involvement of members of the People's Defense Units in the security committees as well as the fact that the People's Council was not adhering to the Erbil agreement. Members of the People's Council of West Kurdistan made similar accusations against the Kurdish National Council.

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KURDWATCH, October 14, 2012—On September 27, 2012, Jigar ʿAbdurrahman Oso (b. 1981 in ʿAfrin) and Zuhair Hasan Muhammad (b. 1976 in ʿAfrin), members of the Kurdish Salahuddin-al‑Aiyubi battalion of the Free Syrian Army, were killed fighting members of the Democratic Union Party's (PYD) Peoples Protection Units in the village of Isko near ʿAfrin. The Peoples Protectio Units member Ibrahim Maʿmo was also killed. The two parties each blamed the other of having lured them into an ambush. PYD-affiliated media accused the Salahuddin-al‑Aiyubi battalion of receiving financial support from the Turkish government and being close to the Syrian-Kurdish politician Salah Badruddin. In PKK circles, Badruddin is seen as a traitor financed by Turkey.

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KURDWATCH, October 13, 2012—On October 7, 2012, Peoples’ Protection Unit members of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) attacked a demonstration by various youth groups in al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik) who gathered in remembrance of the assassination of Mishʿal at‑Tammu one year ago [further information on the case]. An activist told KurdWatch: »They came with four or five vehicles, armed with machine guns. In addition, many of them were masked and armed with clubs or iron pipes. They beat us brutally and without warning, destroying our speakers and all of our media representatives' recording equipment. Moreover they ripped up the Kurdish flag and threw it to the ground.«

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KURDWATCH, October 12, 2012—The Kurdish Democratic Party—Syria of ʿAbdurrahman Aluji, who died last May, held a party congress on October 4 and 5, 2012 in al‑Qamishli. Dr. Lazgin Mahmud Fakhri was elected the new chairman. There were no changes to the party platform. ʿAbdulkarim Sako, a failed candidate for the chairmanship, left the party congress with a group of his supporters, indicating that a split in the party is imminent.

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KURDWATCH, October 12, 2012—Nationwide protests on October 5, 2012, resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators demanded the fall of the regime. In large parts of the country, protestors took to the streets under the slogan »We need weapons, not declarations, to protect our children from death«. Several Kurdish youth groups, including some from the ranks of the Kurdish National Council, used their slogans to remember Mishʿal at‑Tammu, who was assassinated one year ago [further information on the case]. Supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) demonstrated under the motto »The Kurdish regions are taboo«. In al‑Qamishli, one demonstration took place in each of the districts of Qanat Suwais, al‑ʿAntariyah (organized by the Biratî, Rojava, Shaykh Maʿschuq, and Farhad Martyrs youth groups), Kurnish (organized by supporters of the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria under Rezan Bari Shaykhmus, the Sewa youth group, and other independent youth groups), and Munir Habib (organized by the Kurdish National Council) as well as at the Qasimo mosque in the western district (organized by the PYD). In ʿAmudah there were three separate demonstrations, organized by the PYD, the Kurdish National Council, and various youth groups. There were also three demonstrations in al‑Hasakah. Two demonstrations, organized by the Kurdish National Council and the PYD, took place in ad‑Darbasiyah und al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî). One protest march (organized by the Kurdish National Council), took place in al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), and ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî). As has been the case for several months, no Friday demonstrations took place in al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê) and al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik); demonstrations were held during the week. In ʿAfrin and in the mainly Kurdish districts of Aleppo and Damascus, there were no protests.

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KURDWATCH, October 10, 2012—In the course of the hearing against Munzir Iskan Ahmad, Firas Jumʿah al‑Ahmad [further information on the case] and Jiwan Yusuf Yusuf [further information on the case] on September 18, 2012, the Criminal Court in al‑Hasakah questioned Dilovan Ahmad as a witness for the defense. He testified that he had not seen any of the defendants, who are accused of killing a police officer, at the scene of the crime. The court additionally rejected the defense's petition to question Riyad Ahmad, the brother of Munzir Iskan Ahmad, as a witness. The next session is scheduled for October 10, 2012.

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KURDWATCH, October 10, 2012—On September 28, 2012, Rashid Habib, member of the People's Protection Units, was fatally shot at a checkpoint in the mainly Kurdish district of Shaykh Maqsud in Aleppo. According to the People's Protection Units, he was caught in a shootout between regime supporters and members of the Free Syrian Army. Habib was buried near ʿAfrin the same day.

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KURDWATCH, October 8, 2012—On September 30, 2012, a truck loaded with explosives blew up near Sabʿ-Bahrat Square in the center of al‑Qamishli. The driver, who was killed in the attack, detonated the vehicle in front of the Political Security Directorate's headquarters. The explosion was heard in neighboring villages. Reports on the number of victims vary from four to nine; several intelligence service employees are said to be among the victims. The pedestrian Abbas Haji Sulayman (b. 1983, married, one child) was also killed. The Free Syrian Army (FSA) has claimed responsibility for the attack.

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KURDWATCH, October 7, 2012—On September 20, 2012, seventy-two people were killed in front of a gas station during a Syrian Air Force attack on the mainly Arab village of ʿAin ʿIsa (seventy kilometers south of ʿAyn al‑ʿArab [Kobanî]). The Kurd ʿUthman Haji Haso (b. in ʿAyn al‑ʿArab) was among the victims.

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KURDWATCH, October 6, 2012—Nationwide protests on 28. September 2012 resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators demanded the fall of the regime. In large parts of the country, protestors took to the streets under the slogan »Unity of the Free Syrian Army units«. Some Kurdish youth groups, including those from the ranks of the Kurdish National Council, protested under slogans that demanded federalism for the Kurdish regions. In this way, they commemorated the fact that one year ago Kurdish demonstrators first publicly raised the demand for federal structures. Supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) demonstrated in front of the Qasimo mosque in the western quarter of al‑Qamishli and in ʿAmudah under the slogan »The Kurdish language is our official language«. In al-Qamishli, in addition to the PYD demonstration, a demonstration took place in each of the districts of Qanat Suwais, al‑ʿAntariyah (organized by the Biratî, Rojava, Shaykh Maʿschuq and Farhad Martyrs youth groups), Kurnish (organized by supporters of the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria under Rezan Bari Shaykhmus, the Sewa youth group, the Assyrian youth groups, and other independent youth groups) and Munir Habib (organized by the Kurdish National Council). An Islamic-influenced activist group organized a midday demonstration in front of the Qasimo mosque. Supporters of the PYD attacked this demonstration and stole the intercom; the demonstration quickly broke up. In addition to the PYD, the Kurdish National Council and various youth groups demonstrated in ʿAmudah; thus there were three demonstrations there. In al‑Hasakah, two demonstrations took place. One protest march took place in each of the cities of al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), ad‑Darbasiyah, and ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî) (organized by the Kurdish National Council). In ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî) masked supporters of Mustafa Oso's Kurdish Freedom Party in Syria (Azadî) attacked other demonstration participants. As has been the case for several months, no Friday demonstrations took place in al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê) or al‑Malikiya (Dêrik); demonstrations were held during the week. In ʿAfrin and in the Kurdish districts of Aleppo and Damascus, there were no protests.

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KURDWATCH, October 5, 2012—On September 30, 2012, an unknown person murdered Raʿd Muhammad Basho (b. 1974, married) in front of his apartment. Basho was a member of the Movement of Kurdistani People in Syria, a newly founded youth group. Shortly after midnight, a motorcyclist stopped in front of Basho's house and asked Basho, who was sitting with relatives on the balcony, for directions. As Basho walked onto the street, the unknown person shot him in the neck. A few hours later, Raʿd Muhammad Basho died in a hospital in al‑Hasakah.

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KURDWATCH, October 5, 2012—On September 21, units of the People's Protection Committees in Aleppo raised the flag of the Supreme Kurdish Committee, composed of representatives from the People's Council of West Kurdistan and the Kurdish National Council, at all checkpoints in the Shaykh Maqsud district in Aleppo. On September 26, joint security committees with representatives of both councils were formed in ʿAyn al‑ʿArab. Only a few hours later, they raised the flag of the Supreme Kurdish Committee at all of the city's checkpoints as well as at a police station. This development contradicts the decision made on September 19, 2012 by the leadership of the Democratic Union Party's  (PYD) People's Protection Committees to suspend cooperation with the Supreme Kurdish Committee [further information]. One possible explanation for this development are the differences within the PYD/PKK. Another critical factor in Aleppo could be the fact that the Free Syrian Army (FSA) threatened the PYD with an attack on Shaykh Maqsud if the PYD continued to cooperate with the Syrian regime. The PYD may want to counter this impression by cooperating with the Kurdish National Council or to involve the Kurdish National Council in events in case of an attack by the FSA.

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KURDWATCH, September 29, 2012—On September 20, 2012, unknown persons assassinated Mahmud Wali (b. 1968, married, six children), member of the Kurdish National Council's General Secretariat and the Kurdish Freedom Party in Syria (Azadî), in front of the Kurdish National Council's office. An activist told KurdWatch that two masked persons had shot at Wali from a moving motorcycle. The Democratic Union Party (PYD), whose members had kidnapped and brutally tortured Wali on 8. August 2011 [further information on the case], denied press reports that they, or the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), were responsible for the murder. In a public statement, the PYD described a different course of events, claiming that an unmasked person fired the shots and left the scene on foot. Wali was buried on September 21 in Raʾs al‒ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê). Tens of thousands of people, including representatives of the PYD, took part in the funeral service.

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KURDWATCH, September 29, 2012—On September 24, 2012, members of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) attacked a demonstration organized by the Union of Kurdish Democratic Forces in Syria in front of the Qasimo mosque in the western district of al‑Qamishli. During the attack, Yasin Dakhil, a member of Jangidar Muhammad's Kurdish Future Movement in Syria was kidnapped.

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KURDWATCH, September 29, 2012—On September 24, 2012, Haitham ʿAbdulʿaziz at‑Tammu, Usama Mansur al‑Hilali and one other person were injured after landmines exploded in an attempt to cross the Syrian-Turkish border illegally. The three activists are members of Jangidar Muhammad's Kurdish Future Movement in Syria and were on the way to a workshop in Turkey.

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KURDWATCH, September 28, 2012—Nationwide protests on September 21, 2012 resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators demanded the fall of the regime. In large parts of the country, protesters took to the streets under the slogan, »Those who love Allah's prophet are being slaughtered in Syria«. Supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) demonstrated under their own slogan »The People's Protection Committees are our free will«. In al‑Qamishli, one demonstration took place in each of the districts of Qanat Suwais, al‑ʿAntariyah (organized by the Biratî, Rojava, Shaykh Maʿschuq and Farhad Martyrs youth groups), Kurnish (organized by supporters of the Kurdish Future movement in Syria under Rezan Bari Shaykhmus, the Sewa youth group, the Assyrian youth group, and other independent youth groups), and Munir Habib (organized by the Kurdish National Council), as well as at the Qasimo mosque in the western district (organized by the PYD). The Union of Kurdish Democratic Forces in Syria suspended its demonstrations indefinitely on the grounds that it wants to devote its energies elsewhere. Two demonstrations, organized by the Kurdish National Council and the PYD, took place in each of the cities ʿAmudah, ad‑Darbasiyah, and al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî). There were also two demonstrations in al‑Hasakah. In Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), a funeral march was held for Mahmud Wali, who was killed by unknown persons on September 21. A demonstration organized by the Kurdish National Council took place in both ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî) and al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa); however few people there took to the streets. On Friday in al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê) there was just one demonstration by the PYD; the Kurdish National Council demonstration did not take place until Saturday. In Basuta near ʿAfrin, supporters of the Kurdish National Council and the Free Syrian Army organized joint demonstrations. There were no protests in al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik) or in the majority Kurdish districts in Aleppo and Damascus.

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KURDWATCH, September 27, 2012—On September 20, 2012, armed members of the Democratic Union Party's (PYD) People's Protection Committees stormed the party headquarters of the Kurdish Union Party in Syria (Yekîtî), ʿAbdulhakim Bashar's Kurdish Democratic Party (el‑Partî), and Mustafa Jumʿa's Kurdish Freedom Party in Syria (Azadî) in al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê) respectively. They called on those present not to bear arms and to deny any armed people entrance to their offices. A member of the Yekîtî told KurdWatch, »They told our party members that only members of the People's Protection Committees had the right to bear arms«. The three parties attacked are all members of the Kurdish National Council.

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KURDWATCH, September 25, 2012—In a press release on September 19, 2012, the leadership of the People's Protection Committees, the military wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), ended its cooperation with the joint caucus of the People's Council of West Kurdistan and the Kurdish National Council. The reason given was that the caucus had not, as previously agreed, publicly declared that the People's Protection Committees are legitimate defenders of the Kurdish People in West Kurdistan.

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KURDWATCH, September 23, 2012—On September 13, 2012, several dozen armed members of the Arab Bani Sabʿa tribe organized a rally on Sabʿ-Bahrat square in the center of al‑Qamishli. The square is in the immediate vicinity of several intelligence service headquarters. Those gathered called for retribution for the attack on one of their fellow tribesmen, the director of the local water works, Ahmad al‑Salihi. A few days prior, al‑Salihi had been injured in an attack by armed assailants and his company car was stolen. A member of the Bani Sabʿa told KurdWatch that the attackers were members of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the rally was a warning in this direction.

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KURDWATCH, September 20, 2012—Nationwide protests on September 14, 2012, resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators demanded the fall of the regime. In large parts of the country, protesters took to the streets under the slogan »Idlib, cemetery of airplanes and icon of victories«. Supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) demonstrated under their own slogan »The Shaykh Maqsud massacre unites us«. In al‑Qamishli one demonstration took place in each of the districts of Qanat Suwais, al‑ʿAntariyah (organized by the Biratî, Rojava, Shaykh Maʿshuq, and Farhad Martyrs youth groups), Kurnish (organized by supporters of the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria under Rezan Bari Shaykhmus, the Sewa youth group, the Assyrian youth group, and other independent youth groups), and at the Qasimo mosque in the western district (organized by the PYD). Two parallel demonstrations took place in the district of Munir Habib (organized by the Kurdish National Council and the Union of Kurdish Democratic Forces in Syria). In each of the cities of ʿAmudah, Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), and ad‑Darbasiyah, the Kurdish National Council held a demonstration, and in the late afternoon, funeral marches for the drowned refugees took place [further information on the case]. Among the mourners were PYD members, members of various youth groups, and members of the Kurdish National Council. In al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî) a joint-demonstration by the Kurdish National Council and the PYD took place. In ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), two separate demonstrations took place, organized by the PYD and the Kurdish National Council respectively. Protests took place in al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa) and in the Kurdish district of Ruknuddin in Damascus; however, few people there took to the streets. In Basuta and Burj ʿAbdalo near ʿAfrin, supporters of the Kurdish National Council and the Free Syrian Army organized joint demonstrations. Due to the large number of security forces, once again no demonstrations could take place in al‑Hasakah this week. There were also no protests in al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik) and al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê).

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KURDWATCH, September 19, 2012—A total of sixty-one of the sixty-three refugees who drowned off the Turkish coast south of Izmir on September 6, 2012 were from Syria. A total of thirty-nine were from ʿAmudah, twelve from al‑Hasakah, five from ʿAfrin, three from ad‑Darbasiyah, and one each from al‑Qamishli and Aleppo. Sixty of them were allegedly Kurds. Those who drowned were buried on September 14, 2012, some in mass graves.

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KURDWATCH, September 19, 2012—On September 12, 2012, members of the Democratic Union Party's (PYD) People's Protection Committees stopped Khairuddin Birhik, a brother of the slain Nasruddin Birhik [further information on the case], at one of their checkpoints near al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê) and asked for his identification. When Birhik refused to agree to the control, he was detained until the following day.

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KURDWATCH, September 19, 2012—On September 12, 2012, members of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) demanded that an employee of the state waterworks, ʿAbdurrahman Galo (b. in al‑Maʿbada [Girkê Legê]), surrender his vehicle to them. When he refused, PYD‑members threatened to punish him. Galo, who is a member of the Kurdish Union Party in Syria (Yekîtî), asked both his party and his relatives for protection. Armed members of the Yekîtî as well as some of Galo's relatives subsequently stood guard in front of his home.

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KURDWATCH, September 18, 2012—On September 13, 2012, using tear gas and billy clubs security forces attacked hundreds of customers waiting in front of the city bakery in the western district of al‑Qamishli. The crowd had been protested loudly against the current shortage of bread.

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KURDWATCH, September 17, 2012—On September 11, 2012, Rezan Khalid Mustafa (b. 1985 in ʿAyn al‑ʿArab [Kobanî], married) was shot dead in the street in Aleppo. He was buried the same day near ʿAyn al‑ʿArab. The Kurdish Democratic Union Party in Syria (Democratic Yekîtî), of which Mustafa was a member, organized the funeral service. Representatives of the party blamed Syrian government sharpshooters for the murder.

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KURDWATCH, September 14, 2012—On September 11, 2012, a Syrian Air Force plane bombed the village of Basuta, ten kilometers south of ʿAfrin. A bomb exploded near a restaurant at the edge of the village; there were no deaths or injuries.

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KURDWATCH, September 13, 2012—Nationwide protests onSeptember 7, 2012, again resulted in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators demanded the fall of the regime. In large parts of the country, protesters took to the streets under the slogan, »The besieged city of Homs calls out to you«. Supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) demonstrated under their own slogan, »No to military service«. This week supporters of the Kurdish National Council and the PYD held no joint demonstrations. In al‑Qamishli, one demonstration took place in each of the districts of Qanat Suwais, al‑ʿAntariyah (organized by the Biratî, Rojava, Shaykh Maʿschuq, and Farhad Martyrs youth groups), Kurnish (organized by supporters of the Kurdish Future Movement under Rezan Bari Schaikhmus, the Sewa youth group, and other independent youth groups), and at the Qasimo mosque in the western district (organized by the PYD). Parallel demonstrations took place in the district of Munir Habib (organized by the Kurdish National Council and the Union of Kurdish Democratic Forces in Syria). In ʿAmudah, three separate demonstrations took place, organized by the PYD, the Kurdish National Council, and various youth groups. Numerous demonstrators wore black clothing and walked without banners in order to express their grief over the deaths of Syrian refugees who had drowned near the Turkish Mediterranean coast only a few days earlier. Two demonstrations, organized by the PYD and the Kurdish National Council respectively, took place in each of the cities of ad‑Darbasiyah, ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), and al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî). Due to the large number of security forces, no demonstrations could take place in al‑Hasakah. Large rallies took place in the majority Kurdish district of Shaykh Masqud in Aleppo, as well as in ʿAfrin and in many small Kurdish towns in the area. The rallies were awaiting the funeral march for the victims of the air attack on Shaykh Maqsud [further information on the case]. They called for the fall of the regime and retribution for the victims. Protests also took place in al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), and Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), as well as in the majority Kurdish district of Ruknuddin in Damascus; however, few people there took to the streets.

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KURDWATCH, September 13, 2012—On September 4, 2012, the deserter Shervan Khalil (b. in ʿAfrin) was killed in Sayda near Darʿa. A member of the Free Syrian Army reported that Khalil had tried to help recruits in his former unit desert from their posts. He was then killed by Syrian Army soldiers. A video released online shows Shervan Khalil with a shattered skull.

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KURDWATCH, September 11, 2012—On September 6, 2012, for the first time since the fighting began in Aleppo, the Syrian Air Force attacked one of the majority Kurdish districts. During the attack on a market street in Shaykh Maqsud, twenty-one people, including nine children, were killed and dozens of people were injured, some severely. Several thousand people took part in the funeral march organized by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) on September 7, 2012. Those killed were buried near ʿAfrin.

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KURDWATCH, September 11, 2012—On August 27, 2012, the Kurdish National Council's local committee in ʿAmudah reported in a press release that it had suspended its membership in the committees formed jointly with the People's Council of West Kurdistan. It attributed this step to violations by the People's Council against the decisions of the joint caucus of the People's Council and the Kurdish National Council. The People's Council is accused of demanding bribes for the sale of fuel such as diesel, gasoline, and natural gas and of abusing its control of state infrastructure.

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KURDWATCH, September 10, 2012—On September 1, 2012, members of the Democratic Union Party's (PYD) People's Protection Committees kidnapped the doctor Majd Majid Muhammad and the teacher ʿIzzuddin Ismaʿil, the latter following an attack on his home. The Medical Committee from al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê) then organized a demonstration on September 2, 2012 and demanded the release of the kidnap victims. After a short time, members of the PYD forcibly dispersed the demonstration. Nevertheless, the kidnap victims were released the same day.

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KURDWATCH, September 10, 2012—Nationwide protests on August 31, 2012 again resulted in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country demonstrators demanded the fall of the regime. In large parts of the country, protestors took to the streets under the slogan, »Loyalty to the Levant's Tripoli and the freemen of Lebanon«. Supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) demonstrated under their own slogan, »Stop your massacres«. This Friday, scarcely a month after the PYD and the Kurdish National Council began organizing joint demonstrations in many cities, only one such demonstration took place in front of the Qasimo mosque in the western district of al‑Qamishli, and only a few supporters of the Kurdish National Council took part. Additionally, in al‑Qamishli, one demonstration took place in each of the districts of Qanat Suwais, al‑ʿAntariyah (organized by the Biratî, Rojava, Shaykh Maʿshuq and Farhad Martyrs youth groups), Kurnish (organized by supporters of the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria under Rezan Bari Shaykhmus, the Sewa youth group, and other independent youth groups), and Munir Habib (organized by the Union of Kurdish Democratic Forces in Syria). In Qudurbak, security forces prevented Arab youth groups from organizing a demonstration. In ʿAmudah, there were three separate demonstrations, organized by the PYD, the Kurdish National Council, and various youth groups. Two demonstrations, organized by the PYD and the Kurdish National Council respectively, took place in each of the cities of ad‑Darbasiyah, ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), and al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî). Four demonstrations took place in al‑Hasakah. In Maʿbatli and Burj ʿAbdalo near ʿAfrin, supporters of the Kurdish National Council and the Free Syrian Army organized joint demonstrations. Protests were also held in al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa) and Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), as well as in the majority Kurdish district of Ruknuddin in Damascus, although only a few people took to the streets there. According to activists, because of tensions with the PYD, there were no protests in al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik) and al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê). Due to ongoing fighting in neighboring districts, no protests were organized in Aleppo's majority Kurdish districts.

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KURDWATCH, September 8, 2012—On August 30, 2012, during the course of the hearing against Munzir Iskan Ahmad, Firas Jumʿah al Ahmad [further information on the case] and Jiwan Yusuf Yusuf [further information on the case], the Criminal Court in al‑Hasakah questioned Burhan ʿAli as a witness for the prosecution. ʿAli testified that he had not seen any of the defendants at the scene of the crime. Due to a lack of time the witnesses for the defense could not be heard. The next session is scheduled for September 18, 2012.

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KURDWATCH, September 7, 2012 – According to their own statements, on September 1, 2012, members of the Democratic Union Party's (PYD) People's Protection Committee arrested three activists and two recruits from ʿAmudah. The arrests were made as the individuals were attempting to cross the Syrian-Turkish border illegally. Among those kidnapped were Ibrahim Hajj Mustafa ʿAli, ʿUmar Hajj Nuri, Aldar Muhammad, and Muhammad ʿAbdulqadir ʿAli. Late in the afternoon, members of various youth groups organized a rally in ʿAmudah and demanded the release of the kidnap victims. The demonstrators compared the actions of the PYD with those of the Shabbihah militias, which have close ties to the regime. As a result, that night PYD supporters attacked the demonstrators with billy clubs and stones and fired shots into the air. Several people were injured, and one person was grazed by a bullet. Following a request by the joint caucus of the Kurdish National Council and the People's Council of West Kurdistan, the PYD released the kidnap victims on September 2, 2012.

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KURDWATCH, September 6, 2012—On September 3, 2012, members of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) called on business people in downtown al‑Qamishli to keep their shops closed after the lunch hour. According to the PYD, the strike is directed against the plan to draft hundreds of young men into the military. The PYD succeeded in closing al‑Qamishli's central market. Even shop owners who do not sympathize with the PYD were coerced into taking part in the strike.

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KURDWATCH, September 4, 2012—On August 30, 2012, Yasir Hasan Kalash (b. in al‑Qahtaniyah [Tirbesipî], married, two children), Farhad ʿAbbas Ibrahim (b. in al‑Qahtaniyah [Tirbesipî], married, two children), and three other people were killed in raids by the Fourth Brigade in Yaʿfur near Damascus. The Fourth Brigade is under the leadership of Mahir al‑Assad. Kalash and Ibrahim were buried on September 1 2012 near al‑Qahtaniyah.

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KURDWATCH, August 31, 2012—According to statements that independent activists made to KurdWatch, in the Kurdish regions the Democratic Union Party (PYD) now controls numerous gas stations and the sale of gas canisters for household use. The activists reported that PYD‑functionaries sell a majority of these goods at inflated prices on the black market. Moreover, the PYD charges customers at gas stations fees of fifty to one hundred Syrian liras per tank of gas.

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KURDWATCH, August 30, 2012—Nationwide protests on August 24, 2012, resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators demanded the fall of the regime. In many parts of the country, protestors took to the streets under the slogan »Don't be sad, Darʿa, God is with us«. At the Qasimo mosque in the western district of al‑Qamishli, as well as in ʿAmudah, al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), ad‑Darbasiyah, and al‑Hasakah, supporters of the Kurdish National Council and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) demonstrated together under the slogan »Towards a democratic Syria«. Additionally, in al‑Qamishli, one protest took place in each of the districts of Qanat Suwais, al‑ʿAntariyah (organized by the Biratî, Rojava, Shaykh Maʿshuq, and Farhad Martyrs youth groups), Kurnish (organized by supporters of the Kurdish Future Movement in Syrian under Rezan Bari Shaykhmus, the Sewa youth groups, and other independent youth groups), Qudurbak (organized by Arab youth groups), and Munir Habib (organized by the Union of Kurdish Democratic Forces in Syria). Participation in the latter demonstration was significantly low in comparison to previous weeks. In ʿAmudah, various youth groups held a protest march in addition to the joint demonstration of the Kurdish National Council and the PYD. A total of four demonstrations took place in al‑Hasakah. One protest march took place in each of the cities of al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), ad‑Darbasiyah, al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), and Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê). One demonstration also took place in each of the towns of Kimara and Basuta near ʿAfrin. The demonstrators carried the Kurdish and the Syrian independence flags. Both the all-Syrian and the Kurdish slogans were used at the demonstrations not officially organized by the Kurdish National Council and the PYD. For the first time since fighting broke out, a demonstration again took place in the mainly Kurdish district of Shaykh Maqsud in Aleppo. In the Kurdish districts of and Wadi al‑Mashariʿ (Zorava) in Damascus; however, no protests were organized due to the ongoing fighting in neighboring districts.

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KURDWATCH, August 29, 2012—On August 16, 2012, ʿIsa ʿAlush Khidr (b. 1960 in ʿAfrin) was fatally shot in Aleppo. It is unclear whether his death was the result of a targeted killing by sharpshooters or if he was caught in the cross-fire of the armed conflict between government security forces and the Free Syrian Army.

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KURDWATCH, August 27, 2012—On August 19, 2012, security forces opened fire on passengers in a taxi on the highway between al‑Hasakah and al‑Qamishli. Nechirvan Bahzad ʿUmar (b. 1992 in al‑Malikiyah) was killed and two other passengers were injured.

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KURDWATCH, August 26, 2012—Nationwide protests on August 17, 2012, resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators demanded the fall of the regime. In large parts of the country, demonstrators took to the streets under the slogan, »In the unity of our Free Army lies our victory«. The Democratic Union Party (PYD) and several youth groups protested under the slogan »The advancement of August 15«, which refers to the Kurdistan Workers' Party's (PKK) first military attack against Turkey on August 15, 1984. Additionally, in al‑Qamishli protests took place in each of the districts of Qanat Suwais, al‑ʿAntariyah (organized by the Biratî, Rojava, Shaykh Maʿshuq and Farhad Martyrs youth groups), Kurnish (organized by supporters of the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria under Rezan Bari Shaykhmus, the Sewa youth groups, and other independent youth groups), Qudurbak (organized by Arab youth groups), as well as at the Qasimo mosque in the western district of al‑Qamishli (organized by the Kurdish National Council and the PYD) and in Munir Habib (organized by the Union of Kurdish Democratic Forces in Syria). PYD supporters organized a concert in »Support of the Revolution of West Kurdistan« on the soccer field in al‑Hilaliyah, for which Kurdish artists from Europe traveled to attend. Representatives of the Kurdish National Council also took part in the concert. In ʿAmudah, various youth groups held a protest march in addition to the joint demonstration of the Kurdish National Council and the PYD. A total of four demonstrations took place in al‑Hasakah. One protest march took place in each of the cities of al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), ad‑Darbasiyah, al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), and Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê). Overall, the PYD was less present at the demonstrations than in previous weeks. Due to ongoing fighting in neighboring districts, there were no demonstrations in the mainly Kurdish districts of Shaykh Maqsud in Aleppo and Ruknuddin in Damascus.

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KURDWATCH, August 23, 2012—On August 7, 2012, employees of the State Security Service arrested a group of Kurdish activists in the Muhadschirin district of Damascus. Zaki Hasan (b. 1993) and ʿAbdurrazzaq Ismail Ahmad (b. 1986) were arrested at their jobs. Abdo Siraj (b. 1994), Saʿd Siraj, and Rasul Qadri Kalash (b. 1980) were arrested at home. The activists Husain Qadri Kalash (b. 1978) and Yahya Ismail Ahmad, who were also detained, have already been released from custody.

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KURDWATCH, August 23, 2012—On August 17, 2012, forty-nine-year-old Najihah Muhammad ʿUmar (b. in al‑Malikiyah) suffered a gunshot wound to the head in an attack by Syrian armed forces on opposition members in front of a hospital in Damascus. She succumbed to her injuries on the scene.

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KURDWATCH, August 20, 2012—On August 15, 2012, Syrian Air Force planes bombed the city of Aʿzaz (twenty kilometers northeast of ʿAfrin). During the bombing, several dozen civilians were killed. The city of Aʿzaz, which is inhabited by Kurds and Arabs, is a Free Syrian Army stronghold and has been under its control for weeks.

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KURDWATCH, August 19, 2012—On August 12, 2012 unknown persons kidnapped the activist Kamal Ahmad (b. 1985 in Jindiras near ʿAfrin) in front of a school that had been converted into a refugee camp in the al-Suriany district of Aleppo. Eyewitnesses report that he was carried off in a sport utility vehicle by three people dressed in civilian clothes. Ahmad was an employee of an aid organization. The reason for the kidnapping is thus far unknown.

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KURDWATCH, August 18, 2012—During the night of August 11, 2012, the worker ʿAbdulhakim Farhan Ramadan (b. 1994 in Bayandur) was killed in the al‑Qadam district of Damascus by a gunshot to the head. The shot was presumably fired by a sharpshooter. Ramadan was buried on August 13 in Bayandur near al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî).

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KURDWATCH, August 17, 2012—The Criminal Court in al‑Hasakah adjourned the hearings of Munzir Iskan Ahmad, Firas Jumʿah al‑Ahmad [further information on the case], and Jiwan Yusuf Yusuf [further information on the case], which took place on June 19 and July 25, 2012. The next session is scheduled for August 30, 2012. On this date, the witnesses for the defense are to be heard. The defense wants to request that Munzir Iskan Ahmad and Firas Jumʿah al‑Ahmad be released from custody to await their verdict in freedom like Jiwan Yusuf Yusuf.

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KURDWATCH, August 15, 2012—Nationwide protests on August 10, 2012, resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country demonstrators demanded the fall of the regime. In large parts of the country protestors took to the streets under the slogan »Arm us with anti-aircraft weapons«. At the Qasimo mosque in the western district of al‑Qamishli, as well as in ʿAmudah, al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), ad‑Darbasiyah, and al‑Hasakah, supporters of the Kurdish National Council and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) demonstrated together under the slogan »The rights of the Kurdish people«. Additionally, in al‑Qamishli a demonstration took place in each of the districts of Qanat Suwais, al‑ʿAntariyah (organized by the Biratî youth group and Kurdish National Council youth groups), Kurnish (organized by supporters of the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria, which has split, and independent youth groups), and Qudurbak (organized by Arab youth groups), as well as in front of the Great Mosque in the city center. The demonstration in Kurnish was accompanied by a massive squad of security forces, but no incidents were reported. In addition to the protest march held by the PYD and the Kurdish National Council, a demonstration by the Union of Kurdish Democratic Forces in Syria began at the Qasimo mosque in al‑Qamishli. In addition to the joint demonstration by the Kurdish National Council and the PYD, various youth groups also held a protest march in ʿAmudah. A total of four demonstrations took place in al‑Hasakah. One protest march took place in each of the cities of al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), ad‑Darbasiyah, al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), and Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê). Both the all-Syrian slogan and the Kurdish slogan were displayed at the demonstrations not officially organized by the Kurdish National Council and the PYD. For the first time, a demonstration took place in the village of al‑Muhammadiyah near ʿAfrin. It was accompanied by armed members of the Free Syrian Army. The demonstrators carried the Kurdish and the Syrian independence flag. Due to ongoing fighting in neighboring districts, there were no demonstrations in the majority Kurdish districts of Shaykh Maqsud in Aleppo and Ruknuddin in Damascus.

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KURDWATCH, August 13, 2012—On August 3, 2012, security forces arrested ʿAbdulqadir Mustafa Ibrahim (b. 1994 in ʿAyn al‑ʿArab) and his father Mustafa Ibrahim in Damascus. Though Mustafa Ibrahim was released a few hours later, his son was killed that same day. His body, which was found in a district of Damascus, exhibited bullet wounds and evidence of torture. ʿAbdulqadir Mustafa Ibrahim was buried on August 4 near ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî).

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KURDWATCH, August 11, 2012—Informants from al‑Hasakah's central prison have reported to KurdWatch that by August 6, 2012, all one hundred and eighty inmates of al‑Qamishli's central prison and the twelve inmates in the al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik) prison had been transferred to al‑Hasakah. The al‑Malikiyah prison was subsequently turned over to the Democratic Union Party  (PYD). Thus far al‑Qamishli's central prison remains under state control.

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KURDWATCH, August 10, 2012—Nationwide protests on August 3, 2012, resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country demonstrators demanded the fall of the regime. In large parts of the country, protesters took to the streets under the slogan »Dair az‑Zawr, victory comes from the East«. At the Qasimo mosque in the western district of al‑Qamishli, as well as in ʿAmudah, al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê) and al‑Hasakah, supporters of the Kurdish National Council and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) demonstrated together under the slogan »Kurdish unity«. Additionally, in al‑Qamishli a demonstration took place in each of the districts of Qanat Suwais, al‑ʿAntariyah (organized by Biratî youth group and Kurdish National Council youth groups), Kurnish (organized by supporters of the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria, which has split, and independent youth groups) and Qudurbak (organized by Arab youth groups). In Kurnish demonstrators were attacked by security forces. In addition to the protest march held by the PYD and the Kurdish National Council, a demonstration by the Union of Kurdish Democratic Forces in Syria began at the Qasimo mosque. Aside from the joint demonstration by the Kurdish National Council and the PYD, various youth groups also held a protest march in ʿAmudah. A total of four demonstrations took place in al‑Hasakah. One protest march took place in each of the cities of al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), ad‑Darbasiyah, al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), and Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê). Both slogans were displayed at the demonstrations not officially organized by the Kurdish National Council and the PYD. For the first time in months, youth groups were able to organize a demonstration in al‑Basuta near ʿAfrin; they protested under the all-Syrian slogan. Due to the ongoing fighting in neighboring districts, there were no demonstrations in the majority Kurdish districts of Shaykh Maqsud in Aleppo and Ruknuddin in Damascus.

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KURDWATCH, August 9, 2012—On August 6, 2012, armed supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) detained Rezan Bahri Shaykhmus (Chairman of the Office of General Communication for the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria) and two companions for about an hour near ʿAmudah. Shaykhmus, who had been visiting friends in Jirnik, was stopped at a PYD checkpoint and asked to open his trunk. Despite his refusal, he was initially allowed to pass, only to be detained at a checkpoint in ʿAmudah and brought to a PYD building. Shaykhmus told KurdWatch that the »action« served »to humiliate us«.

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KURDWATCH, August 7, 2012—On July 25, 2012, the Syrian army attacked the majority Arab village of az‑Zahiriyah (Xirab Bajar) near al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa) with helicopters. During the attack, which was accompanied by troops on the ground, at least nine Arab residents of the village were killed. Numerous people were arrested. The apparent reason for the attacks is that several village residents are members of the Free Syrian Army.

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KURDWATCH, August 6, 2012—On July 21, 2012, Free Syrian Army units captured the most important border crossing between Iraq and Syria's Kurdish regions near al‑Yaʿrubiyah (Tel Koçer), eighty kilometers east of al‑Qamischli. In the early morning of July 22, the Syrian army, equipped with tanks and helicopters, was able to reclaim the city, which is home to Kurds and Arabs, as well as the border crossing. Numerous activists were arrested, homes were searched, and businesses were looted. In the days that followed, dozens of families left their homes, finding refuge in the surrounding towns and cities.

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KURDWATCH, August 5, 2012—On July 21, 2012, armed members of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) took over numerous check points and police stations in the rural areas of the district of al‑Malikiyah, including ʿAyn Diwar. The only border crossing between Syria and Iraqi-Kurdistan, near Faysh Khabur, was also taken over by the PYD after security forces withdrew. Since then, the PYD has had control of the entire Syrian-Turkish border to the north and east of al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik) and the Syrian-Iraqi border to the south of the city. On July 21, members of the PYD also occupied several offices in the city of al‑Malikiyah, including city hall, the headquarters of the State Security Service and the Military Intelligence Service, the court, the Bank for Agriculture, several police stations, and the building that houses the state telecommunications company and the post office. A few hours after the occupation, Syrian security forces and members of the PYD exchanged fire at the Military Intelligence Service headquarters. During the exchange Bewar Mako, a PYD member from Iran, was killed. Security forces reclaimed all intelligence service headquarters. Currently, all service offices, schools, and state hospitals are under PYD control, while members of the regime continue to have control of all intelligence service headquarters. A Syrian army unit remains stationed at a barracks three kilometers southwest of al‑Malikiyah. Members of the Kurdish National Council and the People's Council of West Kurdistan have formed a joint committee to administer al‑Malikiyah. The Kurdish National Council demanded to be included in the monitoring of all checkpoints and buildings. The PYD was only prepared to jointly administer those buildings located within the city.

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KURDWATCH, August 2, 2012—On July 2, 2012, employees of the Air Force Intelligence Service arrested the taxi driver Muhammad Hawass Kalash (b. 1991 in al‑Qamishli) on the way to Damascus International Airport. At this point in time the reasons for his arrest remain unknown.

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KURDWATCH, August 1, 2012—Nationwide protests on July 27, 2012 resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators united under the slogan »Resistance of both capitals« took to the streets to demand the fall of the regime. In the Kurdish regions, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and several youth groups protested under their own slogan »Freedom for the leader Abdullah Öcalan«. In al‑Qamishli, one demonstration took place in each of the districts of Qanat Suwais, al‑ʿAntariyah (organized by the Biratî youth group and Kurdish National Council youth groups), Kurnish (organized by supporters of Kurdish Future Movement, which has split, and various independent youth groups), and Qudurbak (organized by Arab youth groups). Numerous members of the security forces were present in the city center so that no demonstration could take place there. Three additional protests began at the demonstrators' central meeting point at the Qamismo mosque in the western district of al‑Qamishli. The organizers were the PYD, the Kurdish National Council, and the Union of Kurdish Democratic Forces in Syria. In al‑ʿAntariyah, armed PYD supporters attacked several activists who were filming the demonstration. They pointed weapons at the activists and stole a laptop, a cell phone, and memory cards. Two days later the stolen equipment was returned. In ʿAmudah, three separate demonstrations took place, organized by the Kurdish National Council, the PYD, and various youth groups. In ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), which has been administered by Kurdish parties since July 19 [further information], two demonstrations took place, organized by the PYD and the Kurdish National Council. In al‑Hasakah there were four demonstrations. One central demonstration took place in each of the cities of al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), ad‑Darbasiyah, al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), and Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), as well as in the Kurdish districts of Shaykh Maqsud in Aleppo and Ruknuddin in Damascus. In al‑Malikiyah and al‑Maʿbada, the Friday demonstrations were organized by youth groups; as in recent months, the Kurdish National Council demonstrations took place on Saturday. Because of Ramadan, numerous demonstrations, especially in Aleppo and Damascus, were organized at night. There were no protests in ʿAfrin.

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KURDWATCH, July 31, 2012—On July 8, 2012, armed supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) kidnapped Dr. Niyazi Habash (b. 1981, married, two children) in front of his apartment in Aleppo. Habash was held until evening and tortured in a building he could not identify. The activist was punched in the face, kicked, and subjected to electric shocks to his hands and feet. Both of his legs were broken with stones and iron bars. An employee of the hospital where he was treated told KurdWatch that Habash needed an operation and would not be able to walk for at least two months.
Habash belongs to the oppositional group »Kurdish Spring«. He believes that his kidnapping was also a warning to other members. He further told KurdWatch that the kidnappers spoke Arabic to him, but spoke Kurdish on their cell phones. He views this as an attempt to cover up the fact that they were Kurds.
In ʿAfrin, the PYD threatened to kill two additional doctors as they did Dr. Scharzad Haj Rashid [further information on the case] should they continue with their political activities.

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KURDWATCH, July 29, 2012—On June 12, 2012, the Criminal Court in al‑Hasakah released Jiwan Yusuf Yusuf (b. 1986 in al‑Qamishli) against a bond of fifty thousand Syrian lira. Yusuf was arrested on September 4, 2008 after unknown persons fatally shot two police officers [further information on the case].

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KURDWATCH, July 29, 2012—During fighting in Damascus on July 23, 2012, the Syrian Army arrested several dozen people, including fighters in the Free Syrian Army. A few hours later, thirteen of those arrested were executed in the city of Darayya, including Nechirvan Farhad al‑Kurami (b. in ʿAmudah) and Shivan Sulayman al‑Kurami (b. in ʿAmudah). Nechirvan was a member of the Free Syrian Army.

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KURDWATCH, July 28, 2012—Supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in ʿAfrin have taken over parts of the administration from Syrian state workers. For the past week or so the party has controlled the water and electricity supply as well as the health centers in rural areas. An activist who wanted to raise a Kurdish flag in front of a school was prevented from doing so by the PYD: He was threatened with violence should he try this again. Generally the PYD does not tolerate any Kurdish flags in ʿAfrin.

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KURDWATCH, July 28, 2012—On July 11, 2012, representatives of the Kurdish National Council and the People's Council of West Kurdistan signed an agreement in Salahuddin (Kurdistan/Iraq) intended to supplement the agreement signed on June 11, 2012 in Erbil [download document]. The first point of the document recognizes the Erbil agreement and pronounces its implementation. The second point resolves that a joint caucus will be formed with the task of establishing general political principles and leading the Kurdish movement. Members of both councils are to be equally represented in the caucus and in all committees, and decisions are to be made by consensus.
Point three provides for the establishment of various committees of experts. Point four calls for the cessation of media attacks. Point five forbids the use of force as well as any activities likely to lead to tensions in the Kurdish regions. Point six adopts the bylaws appended to the Erbil agreement, and point seven resolves that committees will be formed within two weeks of the signing of the agreement. 

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KURDWATCH, July 27, 2012—On July 20, 2012, security forces and numerous other state workers left the city of ʿAmudah. The cultural center, the Baʿth party office, and the district administration were among the buildings vacated. For several hours, activists surrounded the State Security Service office. The Democratic Union Party (PYD) granted employees there a period of several hours before they were forced to leave the building. Members of the PYD's People's Protection Committee erected roadblocks to prevent other activists from storming the office. Shortly after midnight, all State Security Service employees left the office after all important documents and records had been burned. PYD supporters also protected the district administration until all of its employees and the director had left the building. Armed members of various Kurdish parties are protecting several buildings, including the post office. Employees of service offices are allowed to continue their work. The police headquarters in ʿAmudah was not surrendered; moreover, the headquarters of the Military Intelligence Service and the Political Security Directorate, located approximately two kilometers outside of the city, are still occupied by regular Syrian security forces.

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KURDWATCH, July 26, 2012—Nationwide protests on July 20, 2012 resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators united under the slogan »Ramadan – victory will be written in Damascus « took to the streets to demand the fall of the regime. In the Kurdish regions, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and several youth groups demonstrated under their own slogan »March to freedom«. In al‑Qamishli, one demonstration took place in each of the districts of Qanat Suwais, al‑ʿAntariyah (organized by the Biratî youth group and Kurdish National Council youth groups), and Kurnish (organized by followers of the now divided Kurdish Future Movement in Syria and independent youth groups). There was also a demonstration from the city center to Qudurbak, in which both Arab and Kurdish activists took part. Security forces quickly broke up this demonstration with billy clubs and tear gas. Three additional protests marches began at the demonstrators' central meeting point at the Qasimo mosque in the western district of al‑Qamishli. The organizers were the PYD, the Kurdish National Council, and the Union of Kurdish Democratic Forces in Syria. In ʿAmudah there were two separate demonstrations, organized by the Kurdish National Council, and various youth groups. Two demonstrations, organized by the PYD and the Kurdish National Council, took place in both ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), which has been administered by the Kurdish parties since July 19 [further information on the case] and in the mainly Kurdish district of Shaykh Maqsud in Aleppo. In al‑Hasakah there were four demonstrations. One central protest march took place in each of the cities of al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), ad‑Darbasiyah, al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), and Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), as well as in the mainly Kurdish district of Ruknuddin in Damascus. No protests took place in ʿAfrin. Like last week, there were no PYD attacks on participants of the other demonstrations.

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KURDWATCH, July 24, 2012—On July 19, 2012, numerous state workers and employees of the Syrian security forces left the city of ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî). Shortly thereafter, members of various Kurdish parites occupied several of the empty office buildings, including city hall and the Baʿth party office, as well as intelligence service headquarters and police stations. Some state workers, including police officers, who remained behind promised their full cooperation and their subordination to the decisions of the Kurdish parties. Overnight, members of the local committees of the Kurdish National Council and the People’s Council of West Kurdistan met to discuss how to proceed. They released a declaration in which, among other things, all those employed in service offices were asked to continue working as usual.

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KURDWATCH, July 22, 2012—On July 13, 2012, the chairman of the Executive Office for the Union of Kurdish Democratic Forces in Syria, Jamil ʿUmar, was kidnapped. His car was shot at before unknown persons picked him up in another vehicle. Rumors that ʿUmar was arrested by the Military Intelligence Service have not yet been confirmed.

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KURDWATCH, July 22, 2012—The Kurdish Future Movement in Syria has split. On July 6, 2012, a group of approximately twenty people convened a general assembly in al‑Qamishli and declared that the chairman of the Office for General Communication, Rezan Bahri Shaykhmus, had been deposed, and elected a new Office of General Communication, consisting of eleven people. Jangidar Muhammad was elected chairman of the Office. The group supporting Rezan Bahri Shaykhmus does not recognize the elections. Subsequently there are currently two parties known as the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria.

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KURDWATCH, July 21, 2012—On June 29, 2012, supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) attacked a dissident demonstration in front of the Dirsim Hospital in ʿAfrin [further information on the case]. The demonstrator ʿAbdurrahman Hasan Bakr defended himself against the attacks, and a PYD activist known as Chakdar was injured in the face in the process. The PYD retaliated in an unprecedented way: In the night from July 4 to July 5, armed PYD fighters attacked the home of Hanan Hasan Bakr in ʿAfrin. Those who were attacked defended themselves and a shootout lasting several hours ensued, in which the PYD activist Chakdar was killed and other attackers were injured. PYD members then kidnapped Hanan Hasan Bakr and at least ten of his relatives. They also set four homes and several cars belonging to the kidnapped victims on fire. A few hours later Hanan Hasan Bakr and his son ʿAbdurrahman Hanan Bakr were tied to a utility pole in ʿAfrin and were executed by gunshots to the head. Shortly thereafter their bodies were thrown in front of the Dirsim Hospital. PYD supporters are said to have forbidden relatives from collecting the bodies. Ahmad Mustafa was kidnapped while attempting to retrieve the bodies. On July 6, 2012, PYD supporters looted two shops belonging to another kidnapped victim, ʿIzzuddin Shaykh Naʿsan, and killed another of Hasan Hanan Bakr's sons, Nuri Hanan Bakr. His body was also dumped in front of the hospital in ʿAfrin. On July 7 another relative of Hanan Hasan Bakr, Nuri Shaykh Naʿsan, was kidnapped. Additionally, more than one hundred fifty olive trees belonging to the Bakr family were cut down. On July 11, the following kidnapped victims were released: Shaykh ʿAbdi Shaykh Naʿsan and Hashim Shaykh Naʿsan (members of the district committee of the Kurdish Democratic Party [el‑Partî]), ʿAbdulmuttalib Shaykh Naʿsan, Mahmud Shaykh Naʿsan, Muhyiddin Shaykh Naʿsan, Fakhri Shaykh Naʿsan, Shaykhu Shaykh Naʿsan, Anas Shaykh Naʿsan, Yunis Shaykh Naʿsan, Shaykh Muhammad Shaykh Naʿsan, ʿIzzuddin Shaykh Naʿsan, Ahmad Zaki Mustafa, Nuri Shaykh Naʿsan, and Wahid Mustafa. On the morning of July 4, the PYD reported that it had »arrested« Shaykhu Shaykh Naʿsan and Fakhri Shaykh Naʿsan, as the two were involved in the attack on PYD member ʿAbdo Murad [further information on the case]. The PYD announced that it would release a video in which the two confess to their participation. This has not yet happened.

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KURDWATCH, July 21, 2012—On July 14, 2012, armed persons attacked a checkpoint controlled by the Democratic Union Party's (PYD) People's Protection Committees in the western district of al‑Qamishli. At the same time an attack occurred on a Syrian Army checkpoint in the majority Arab village of Himu, approximately three kilometers west of the aforementioned PYD checkpoint. It is unclear whether or not the attacks resulted in any dead or injured. A few days prior, a small group of Kurdish activists had circulated a video on the internet announcing the formation of an armed Kurdish unit in al‑Hasakah. It is unclear, however, whether or not this group was responsible for one or both of the attacks described above.

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KURDWATCH, July 19, 2012—Nationwide protests on July 13, 2012 resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators united under the motto »Anan, servant of Assad and Iran must be deposed« took to the streets to demand the fall of the regime. In the Kurdish regions, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and several youth groups demonstrated under their own slogan »Patriotic Unity«. In al‑Qamishli one demonstration took place in each of the districts of Qanat Suwais, al-ʿAntariyah (organized by the Biratî youth group and Kurdish National Council youth groups), Kurnish (organized by the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria and independent youth groups) and Qudurbak (organized by Arab youth groups). Three additional protest marches began at the demonstrators’ central meeting place at the Qasimo mosque in the western district of al‑Qamishli. The organizers were the PYD, the Kurdish National Council, and the Union of Kurdish Democratic Forces in Syria. In ʿAmudah there were three separate demonstrations, organized by the PYD, the Kurdish National Council, and various youth groups. Two demonstrations, organized by the PYD and the Kurdish National Council, took place in each of the cities of al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), and in the Kurdish district of Shaykh Maqsud in Aleppo. In al‑Hasakah there were four demonstrations. One central protest march took place in each of the cities of al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), ad‑Darbasiyah, al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), and Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), as well as in the Kurdish district of Ruknuddin in Damascus. In contrast to recent weeks, there were no known PYD attacks on dissident demonstrators. In ʿAfrin, where PYD supporters executed several critics in the last week of June, no demonstrations took place.

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KURDWATCH, July 17, 2012—In the last week of June and the first week of July 2012, armed units of the Democratic Union Party's (PYD) People's Protection Committees erected numerous new checkpoints. Checkpoints were repeatedly observed on access roads to al‑Qamishli, Amudah, al‑Malikiyah and Tall Ziwan near al‑Qahtaniyah. On July 2, an incident occurred at a checkpoint near Amudah when several people refused to be checked by PYD supporters. Members of both sides fired into the air; it took several hours before the situation was de-escalated.

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KURDWATCH, July 16, 2012—On July 2 and 3, 2012, the Arab League organized a meeting of the Syrian opposition in Cairo. The meeting did not achieve a breakthrough in uniting the participants, as had been hoped. While the Free Syrian Army boycotted the meeting from the beginning, representatives of the Kurdish National Council and the Democratic Union Party (PYD), as well as other Kurdish delegates left the meeting in protest. The Kurdish National Council justified its actions on the basis that the »constitutional recognition of the Kurdish people and its national identity, as well as the protection of its legitimate national rights in accordance with international norms and conventions« was not mentioned in the opposition's closing statement. In fact, it was after the Arab opposition raised objections to the already negotiated closing statement that the term »Kurdish people« was replaced by »Kurdish nation« in the final document.

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KURDWATCH, July 15, 2012—On June 20, 2012, the recruit Hozan Muhammad Zain al-ʿAbidin (b. 1985 in al‑Malikiyah) was arrested by employees of the Military Intelligence Service while attempting to leave Syria illegally for Iraqi-Kurdistan. Although his regular military service had concluded about nine months ago, Zain al-ʿAbidin had not been discharged from the army. He is currently in the custody of the Military Intelligence Service in al‑Qamishli.

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KURDWATCH, July 12, 2012—Nationwide protests on July 6, 2012, resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators united under the slogan »People's Liberation War« took to the streets to demand the fall of the regime. In the Kurdish regions, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and several youth groups demonstrated under their own slogan »ʿAfrin is not alone«. In al‑Qamishli, one demonstration took place in each of the districts of Qanat Suwais, al‑ʿAntariyah (organized by the Biratî youth group and Kurdish National Council youth groups), Kurnish (organized by the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria and independent youth groups) and Qudurbak (organized by Arab youth groups). Three additional protest marches began at the demonstrators' central meeting point at the Qasimo mosque in the western district of al‑Qamishli. The organizers were the PYD, the Kurdish National Council, and the Union of Kurdish Democratic Forces in Syria. In ʿAmudah there were three separate demonstrations, organized by the PYD, the Kurdish National Council, and various youth groups. Two demonstrations took place in both ad‑Darbasiyah and ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), organized by the PYD and the Kurdish National Council. In al‑Hasakah, there were four demonstrations. One central protest march took place in each of the cities of al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), and Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), as well as in the Kurdish districts of Shaykh Maqsud in Aleppo and Ruknuddin in Damascus. After the organized attacks by PYD members on demonstrators in ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî) and ʿAfrin on 29. June [further information on the case], no demonstration took place in ʿAfrin this week. In ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), however, dissident demonstrators once again took to the streets this week. In al‑Malikiyah, PYD supporters attacked members of several youth groups as well as other demonstration participants. They fired into the air and forcibly took away a utility van equipped with speakers, flags, and banners.

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KURDWATCH, July 12, 2012—On June 28, 2012, armed units of the Democratic Union Party's (PYD) People's Protection Committees kidnapped the cousins Nafiʿ and Kusan ʿAdil Shahin in ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî). On the same day, members of the Botan Bage tribe, of which both the kidnapped victims were members, stormed the state-run tobacco company Riji, which the PYD had turned into a prison; the prisoners were freed. Representatives from both sides fired into the air. Afterwards, the PYD demanded that the prisoners be handed over or that a payment of five million Syrian lira be made.

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KURDWATCH, July 9, 2012—On July 1, 2012, Nasruddin Ibrahim [Secretary of the Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria (el‑Partî) and leading member of the Kurdish National Council] was denied exit at the Damascus airport. Ibrahim was asked to report to the Air Force Intelligence Service in Damascus, where he was interrogated for several days in a row.

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KURDWATCH, July 8, 2012—On June 29, 2012, unknown persons shot sixty-year-old Abdo Murad in ʿAfrin. Murad is a member of the People's Council of West Kurdistan, a PKK‑body that also represents the PYD. He was hit in the leg and the pelvic area. His condition is stable.

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KURDWATCH, July 8, 2012—On June 26, 2012, members of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) kidnapped Aziz Aibash and Barkhwadan Mustafa (members of the Union of Coordinating Committees of Kurdish Youth in Syria). The kidnapped victims were held for three hours in a house in ʿAfrin and questioned about their activities before being released.

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KURDWATCH, July 7, 2012—In the late night hours of June 24, 2012, a unit of the Democratic Union Party's (PYD) People's Protection Committees kidnapped Mustafa Juma, Vice President of the Kurdish National Council and Secretary of the Kurdish Freedom Party in Syria (Azadî), as he was trying to leave Syria illegally for Iraqi-Kurdistan. Juma was brought with his eyes bound to a house in al‑Malikiyah that had been turned into a prison. After negotiations between members of the Kurdish National Council and the PYD-affiliated People's Council of West Kurdistan, Juma was handed over to the previous chairman of the Kurdish National Council, Ahmad Sulayman the following day. On June 27, Mustafa Juma was able to leave the country for Iraqi—Kurdistan.

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KURDWATCH, July 6, 2012—Nationwide protests on June 29, 2012, resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators united under the motto »We believe in God's victory« took to the streets to demand the fall of the regime. In the Kurdish regions, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and several youth groups demonstrated under their own slogan »Women's Councils are the guarantor of a free society«. In al‑Qamishli, one demonstration took place in each of the districts of Qanat Suwais, al‑ʿAntariyah (organized by the Biratî youth group and Kurdish National Council youth groups), Kurnish (organized by the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria and independent youth groups), and Qudurbak (organized by Arab youth groups). Three additional protest marches began at the demonstrators' central meeting point at the Qasimo mosque in the western district of al-Qamishli. The organizers were the PYD, the Kurdish National Council, and the Union of Kurdish Democratic Forces in Syria. Although the PYD demonstration did not take place until late afternoon, dozens of PYD supporters armed with knifes and sticks occupied the square in front of the Qasimo mosque all day. In ʿAmudah there were three separate demonstrations organized by the PYD, the Kurdish National Council, and various youth groups. In ad‑Darbasiyah there were two demonstrations organized by the PYD and the Kurdish National Council. Four demonstrations took place in al‑Hasakah. One central protest march took place in each of the cities of al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), and Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê) as well as in the Kurdish districts of Shaykh Maqsud in Aleppo and Ruknuddin in Damascus. In ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî) and ʿAfrin, armed PYD supporters again attacked opponents of the regime [further information on the case] so that they could not carry out their planned demonstrations.

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KURDWATCH, July 6, 2012—At the beginning of the Kurdish National Council's Friday demonstrations on June 29, 2012, armed units of the Democratic Union Party's (PYD) People's Protection Committees closed several streets leading to the demonstrators' main gathering point in ʿAynal‑ʿArab (Kobanî). They positioned sharpshooters on the rooftops, fired into the air, attacked demonstrators, and kidnapped several dozen of them. Most of the kidnapped victims were released the same day. However, Mustafa Sheikho (member of the Kurdish National Council and leader of the Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party in Syria—Reform Movement) was not immediately released. ʿUmar Kalo, member of the Kurdish National Council's media committee, told KurdWatch, »On June 30, the PYD informed the local committee of the Kurdish National Council that Mustafa Sheikho would be released when they picked him up. We refused this. We in no way accept such actions by the PYD. We want the PYD to release our captives and apologize«. Sheikho was released on June 30.
On June 29, participants in a demonstration planned by the Kurdish National Council in ʿAfrin were also attacked in the manner described above. Dozens of people were kidnapped and brutally beaten. KurdWatch has the names of the following kidnapped victims: Siamend Ahmad Tshawish, Ahmad Kamal Tshawish, ʿAbdulrahman Ahmad Bakir, ʿAbdulqadir Najar, Zaradasht Muhammad Haji, Ahmad ʿAlo, Shiar Bakir, Mustafa Bakir, and Hashim Sheikh Naʿsan. Moreover on the same day, Azad Wali [member of the Kurdish Freedom Party in Syria (Azadî)], who was being sought by the PYD, was kidnapped by PYD‑supporters in Aleppo. All those who were kidnapped were released the same day.

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KURDWATCH, July 4, 2012—In the early morning of July 1, 2012, Arsham Tshawish was kidnapped from his apartment by members of the PYD. Tshawish belongs to the youth coordinating committee in ʿAfrin.

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KURDWATCH, July 3, 2012—According to statements given by several smugglers, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) controls large stretches of the Syrian-Turkish and Syrian-Iraqi borders in the Kurdish regions. In order to continue pursuing their activities, smugglers must pay taxes to the PYD.

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KURDWATCH, July 2, 2012—On June 23, 2012, the PYD affiliated People's Protection Committees decided to arm their checkpoints in the Kurdish regions. According to the PYD, the decision came after Syrian security forces tried to attack a checkpoint in al‑Malikiyah.

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KURDWATCH, June 30, 2012—On June 23, 2012, a bus belonging to the Jiwan bus company from al-Qamishli was fired upon near Dair az‑Zawr. One person was killed; in addition, the driver Fahd ʿAbdulʿaziz Husayn, his attendant Muhammad Barawi, and six other people were injured, some severely. Passengers reported that the shots were fired from a Syrian army outpost. In recent weeks, buses belonging to the Haval, Iman, Rafidain, Parwan, Izlah, and Akram bus companies have been fired upon near Dair az‑Zawr. All of the companies are based in the Kurdish regions. Among others, Lazgin Husain Farman and Jiwan Husayn (driver and attendant for Haval), Barakat Dawud (driver for Iman) and ʿUmar ʿAli (driver for Jiwan) were injured in the shootings. The travel companies have since suspended travel on the road between al‑Qamishli and Dair az‑Zawr.

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KURDWATCH, June 28, 2012—On June 20, 2012, a motorcyclist and his passenger died in an explosion at the old bus station in the mainly Kurdish Shaykh Maqsud district in Aleppo. According to information from the PYD-affiliated People's Protection Committee, the deceased are the brothers Ahmad ʿAli Muhammad ʿAmayah and ʿUmar Muhammad ʿAmayah from the Arab town of Baianun, north of Aleppo. At least five additional people were injured. The explosion is said to have been caused by an accident that occurred during a transport of dynamite.

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KURDWATCH, June 28, 2012—Nationwide protests on June 22, 2012, resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators united under the slogan »If the rulers don't help, what happens to the people?« took to the streets to demand the fall of the regime. In the Kurdish regions, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and several youth groups demonstrated under their own slogan »Self-defense is our right«. In al‑Qamischli, one demonstration took place in each of the districts of Qanat Suwais, al‑ʿAntariyah (organized by the Biratî youth group and youth groups of the Kurdish National Council), Kurnish (organized by the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria and independent youth groups), and Qudurbak (organized by Arab youth groups). In Qudurbak, several people attacked ʿAbdullah Saʿdun, a cameraman for the Ronahî television station, which has ties to the PYD. He suffered stab wounds. Three additional protest marches began at the demonstrators' central meeting point at the Qasimo mosque in the western district of al‑Qamishli. The organizers were the PYD, the Kurdish National Council, and the Union of Kurdish Democratic Forces in Syria. Although the PYD demonstration did not take place until late afternoon, dozens of PYD supporters armed with knifes and sticks occupied the square in front of the Qasimo mosque all day. In ʿAmudah, there were three separate demonstrations, organized by the PYD, the Kurdish National Council, and various youth groups. Four demonstrations took place in al‑Hasakah. There were two demonstrations inn ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), organized by the PYD and the Kurdish National Council. After PYD supporters attacked Kurdish National Council demonstrators in ʿAfrin last week, no demonstrations took place there this week. One central protest march took place in each of the districts of al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), and ad‑Darbasiyah, as well as in the Kurdish districts of Shaykh Maqsud in Aleppo and Ruknuddin in Damascus.

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KURDWATCH, June 26, 2012—On May 28, 2012, the student and activist Jigarkhwin ʿAbdurrazzaq Mula Ahmad [further information on the case] was presented to the military investigating judge in Aleppo. To date it remains unclear whether or not the judge will bring charges.

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KURDWATCH, June 24, 2012—On June 15, 2012, supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) attacked participants carrying the Syrian independence flag at a demonstration organized by the Kurdish National Council in ʿAfrin. Three people were injured; one demonstrator's cell phone was stolen. Following the rally, three activists were kidnapped. Faramaz ʿUthman and one other person were released the same day, but Orhan Cafer remained in the hands of the PYD until June 19. Faramaz ʿUthman was allegedly beaten during the kidnapping.

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KURDWATCH, June 22, 2012—On June 16, 2012, the extraordinary fifth party congress of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) took place in al‑Qamishli under the slogan »A democratic and free Syria and an autonomous democratic administration for West Kurdistan«. More than two thousand party members and guests took part in the event. In a closing statement, those gathered emphasized their support for the cooperation agreement between the People's Council of West Kurdistan and the Kurdish National Council. The People's Council of West Kurdistan is a PYD body that was founded on December 16, 2011 in reaction to the establishment of the Kurdish National Council. At the same time, those gathered demanded the establishment of a Supreme Commission with representatives from both sides as is provided for in the agreement. According to the statement, as soon as this commission is established, the PYD will adhere to its decisions. Moreover, the PYD's Central Committee was expanded from 13 to 25 members and dual leadership was introduced. Asiyah ʿAbdullah and the previous chairman, Salih Muslim Muhammad, were chosen as the chairmen.

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KURDWATCH, June 21, 2012—Nationwide protests on June 15, 2012 resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators united under the slogan »Ultimate readiness for the revolution« took to the streets to demand the fall of the regime. In the Kurdish regions, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and several youth groups demonstrated under their own slogan, »Your massacres unite us«. In al‑Qamishli one demonstration took place in each of the districts of Qanat Suwais, al‑ʿAntariyah, Qudurbak (organized by the Biratî youth group and the youth groups of the Kurdish National Council), and Kurnish (organized by the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria and independent youth groups). Three additional protest marches began at the demonstrators' central meeting point at the Qasimo mosque in the western district of al‑Qamishli. The organizers were the PYD, the Kurdish National Council, and the Union of Kurdish Democratic Forces in Syria. In ʿAmudah there were also three separate demonstrations organized by the PYD, the Kurdish National Council, as well as by various youth groups. Four demonstrations took place in al‑Hasakah. There were two demonstrations in ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), organized by the PYD and the Kurdish National Council. In ʿAfrin, supporters of the Kurdish National Council organized a demonstration for the first time in months. In addition to the Kurdish flag, a flag for the Kurdish Democratic Union Party in Syria (Democratic Yekîtî) was visible. Over the course of the demonstration, the PYD attacked protesters, injuring several people. One central protest march took place in each of the cities of al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), and ad‑Darbasiyah, as well as in the majority Kurdish districts of Shaykh Maqsud in Aleppo and Ruknuddin in Damascus. Additionally, a funeral march took place in Ruknuddin in the morning as part of the burial of an Arab demonstrator who was killed on Thursday. Numerous activists and relatives of the deceased took part.

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KURDWATCH, June 20, 2012—On April 12, 2012, the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria left the Union of Kurdish Democratic Forces in Syria, which the Future Movement had founded. One of the reasons given for this move was the admittance of ʿAbdurrahman Aluji's Kurdish Democratic Party—Syria and the Kurdistan Union Party in Syria into the Kurdish National Council.

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KURDWATCH, June 19, 2012—The people kidnapped by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) on June 7, 2012 [further information on the case] are free again. In the early morning of June 9, Dibo Hasan, Bashir Chawish, Husain Chawish, Muhammad ʿAbdullah Chawish, Zardasht Rashid Hasan, ʿAbdurrahman Hasan, Ibrahim Mahmud, Marwan Ibrahim, ʿAli Marwan Ibrahim, Ibrahim Mamo, and Rashid Hasan were released. On June 13, Nuri Khoja, the mullah of the town of Sinka, was also released. His son Tekoshin Nuri Khoja remained under house arrest until this time. The PYD threatened to kill him if he left the house. For this reason, the student could not take part in the university exams at the end of the semester. At least three of the kidnapped victims—Bashir Chawish, Husain Chawich, and Dibo Hasan—were tortured while seized. Bashir Chawish and Husain Chawish received electric shocks among other things. The kidnapped victims were accused of working with the Turkish intelligence service and being financed by Turkey and the Gulf states.
Mustafa Husain (member of the Central Committee of the Azadî) and Ismail Khalil (member of the Kurdish Freedom Party in Syria [Azadî] and the Kurdish National Council), who were kidnapped by the PYD on June 8, 2012, have been free since June 10.

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KURDWATCH, June 18, 2012—The Democratic Union Party (PYD) is putting weapons and ammunition into circulation in ʿAfrin at low prices. According to an informant, PYD‑supporters can receive a machine gun for 20 000 Syrian Lira, while others must pay 25 000 Lira. The informant also stated that some people have been refused weapons. A supporter of the Kurdish Freedom Party in Syria (Azadî), for example, tried in vain to get one such weapon. According to another informant, the PYD also has heavy weapons that originated in the Qandil Mountains (Iraqi-Kurdistan) and are to be flown in via Iran.

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KURDWATCH, June 17, 2012—On June 4, 2012, the Criminal Court of First Instance in Damascus released the student Muhammad Farhad Sayda (b. 1988) from custody on bail. Employees of the Political Security Directorate arrested him at the Syrian-Lebanese border as he was entering the country from Lebanon on May 29, 2012. While in custody, Sayda was interrogated daily, sometimes for several hours, and was beaten with sticks and cables. He was accused of supporting the Free Syrian Army both financially and with weapons. The next hearing is scheduled for June 28, 2012.

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KURDWATCH, June 17, 2012—On June 10, 2012, the Syrian National Council (SNC) elected ʿAbdulbasit Sayda (b. 1956 in ʿAmudah), a founding member of the SNC, as its chairman. The non-partisan Kurd follows Burhan Ghaliun, who gave up the office prematurely in May 2012. Jurj Sabra, who lives in Paris, abstained from running; members of the Muslim Brotherhood had repeatedly protested against the fact that the candidate is Christian.

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KURDWATCH, June 12, 2012—Nationwide protests on June 8, 2012 resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country demonstrators united under the slogan »Revolutionaries and merchants, hand in hand to victory« took to the streets to demand the fall of the regime. In the Kurdish regions, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and several youth groups demonstrated under their own slogan »We demand an autonomous administration«. In al‑Qamishli, one demonstration took place in each of the districts of Qanat Suwais, al‑ʿAntariyah, Qudurbak, and Kurnish. Three additional protest marches began at the demonstrators’ central meeting point at the Qasimo mosque in the western district of al‑Qamishli. The organizers were the PYD, the Kurdish National Council, and the Union of Kurdish Democratic Forces in Syria. In the late afternoon, PYD activists built two checkpoints in al‑ʿAntariyah; pedestrians and cars were searched. In ʿAmudah there were three separate demonstrations organized by the PYD, the Kurdish National Council, as well as by various youth groups including Avahî. Four demonstrations took place in al‑Hasakah. In the early morning a small explosion near a statue of the deceased Hafiz al‑Assad damaged the statue. When demonstrators attempted to destroy the statue in the afternoon, security forces intervened and arrested several dozen people. In ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî) there were two demonstrations, organized by the PYD and the Kurdish National Council, respectively. One central protest march took place in each of the cities of al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), and ad‑Darbasiyah, as well as in the majority Kurdish districts of Shaykh Maqsud in Aleppo and Ruknuddin in Damascus. In Ruknuddin security forces attacked demonstrators after they put up roadblocks and set fire to car tires and garbage cans.

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KURDWATCH, June 11, 2012—In the early morning of June 7, 2012, twelve people who had taken part in a Kurdish National Council meeting held the previous evening in the village of Sinka in the district of ʿAfrin were kidnapped by members of the Democratic Union Party (PYD). The people in question are Dibo Hasan (member of the Kurdish National Council and the Kurdish Freedom Party in Syria [Azadî]), Nuri Khoja (b. 1955), Bashir Chawish, Husain Chawish, Muhammad ʿAbdullah Chawish, Zardasht Rashid Hasan, ʿAbdurrahman Hasan (member of the Kurdish National Council and the Kurdish Democratic Party—Syria), Ibrahim Mahmud, Marwan Ibrahim, ʿAli Marwan Ibrahim (b. 1997), Tekoshin Nuri Khoja (b. 1985, member of the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria), and Ibrahim Mamo. Another person, Rashid Hasan (Azadî member), was kidnapped on the evening of June 7. Prior to the kidnapping, a conflict had arisen at a PYD checkpoint between participants at the Kurdish National Council's event and PYD members. Tekoshin Nuri Khoja was injured. The PYD accuses Khoja of attacking them and stepping on the PYD‑flag. Khoja denies this. After Rezan Bahri Shaykhmus, (chairman of the Kurdish Future Movement's Office of General Communication) intervened in the matter with the PYD, Khoja was released on the evening of June 7. All of the other kidnapped victims remain in the custody of the PYD; they are to be brought before the court on June 8 [further information on the PYD‑courts]. Khoja reported to KurdWatch that members of the PYD stormed his parents' home on the morning of June 7 taking him and his father in handcuffs and with their eyes bound to a house that had been turned into a prison. The other kidnapped victims—all of them had visited him at home the previous evening following his injury—were also there. Khoja reports that the PYD accused him of supporting the Free Syrian Army and being financed by the Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan. According to official statements by the PYD, the kidnappings were a reaction to armed attacks by Azadî members on a PYD checkpoint.

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KURDWATCH, June 11, 2012—The Democratic Union Party (PYD) has established a court in ʿAfrin. The court will try primarily independent activists and other activists critical of the PYD. The chairman of the court is Husam Hirkuki, an Arab ʿAlawi, who, according to activists, maintains close ties to the intelligence service. Additional (Kurdish) members are Mustafa Hamsuru, Iso Toto, ʿUmar Barazi, and Husain Biro. Comparable courts exist in al‑Qamishli, ʿAmudah, ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), ad‑Darbasiyah and al‑Malikiyah.

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KURDWATCH, June 11, 2012—On June 3, 2012, members of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) surrounded the village of Basuta in the district of ʿAfrin and kidnapped seven activists from the local coordinating committees. Violence ensued, with intelligence service employees intervening on the part of the PYD. One person was injured. Prior to the kidnapping there had been a conflict between village residents and the PYD: The residents had refused the construction of a PYD checkpoint in their village. The kidnapped victims were released on June 2012 after villagers agreed to the checkpoint. Intelligence service employees were present at the checkpoint's construction.

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KURDWATCH, June 10, 2012—In the early morning of June 4, 2012, shots were fired at the writer Taha Ahmad Khalil (b. 1961 in al‑Qamishli). Two unknown persons knocked at Khalil's door and asked him in Kurdish if he would lend them his car. When Khalil became suspicious and backed away, one of the men shot in his direction, but missed him. Khalil told KurdWatch: »I have been threatened by unknown persons over the internet several times. I believe these people are acting on the orders of a Kurdish group that always appears under a new name.«

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KURDWATCH, June 7, 2012—Nationwide protests on June 1, 2012 resulted once again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators united under the slogan »Hula's children, victory torches« took to the streets to demand the fall of the regime. In the Kurdish regions, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) demonstrated under its own slogan »Maʿschuq Khaznawi, the sheikh of the martyrs«. Khaznawi was kidnapped and killed in May 2005—presumably by Syrian security forces. In al‑Qamishli one demonstration took place in each of the districts of Qanat Suwais and Kurnish. Following the attack by supporters of the Kurdish National Council on members of the Union of Coordinating Committees of Kurdish Youth in Syria last week, two separate demonstrations took place in al‑ʿAntariyah. Four additional protest marches began at the demonstrators' central meeting point at the Qasimo mosque in the western district of al‑Qamishli. The organizers were the PYD, the Kurdish National Council, the Union of Kurdish Democratic Forces in Syria, as well as the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria. In ʿAmudah there were three separate demonstrations, organized by the PYD, the Kurdish National Council, as well as by various youth groups including Avahî. In al‑Hasakah there were four demonstrations. One central protest march took place in each of the cities of al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), ad‑Darbasiyah, ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), as well as in the majority Kurdish districts of Shaykh Maqsud in Aleppo and Ruknuddin and Wadi al‑Mashariʿ (Zorava) in Damascus.

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KURDWATCH, June 5, 2012—On May 17, 2012, the criminal investigation department released the pharmacist Jinni Harsan (b. 1975 in ʿAmudah) from custody. She was arrested on May 15 in Damascus for participating in dissident demonstrations.

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KURDWATCH, June 4, 2012—On April 26, 2012, the Fifth Criminal Court in Damascus ordered the release of six of the activists who were arrested by the Military Intelligence Service on March 5, 2012 in the Wadi al‑Mashariʿ (Zorava) district of Damascus [further information on the case]. The activists in question are Dalil Luqman Aiyub, Haqqi Luqman Aiyub, Ahmad Khalaf Khalaf, and Dalil Ahmad Khalaf, as well as Khamgin Tamr Yaʿqub and Jiwan ʿAbdurrahman Khalid.

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KURDWATCH, June 2, 2012—On May 15, 2012, a group of Kurds calling themselves the Liberation of ʿAfrin and counting themselves part of the Free Syrian Army intimidated a PYD guard in the town of Kafr Janna (district of ʿAfrin) by firing shots into the air. On May 14, 2012, the group had already attacked a Syrian Army guard near Kafr Janna, and then taking off with weapons and ammunition.

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KURDWATCH, June 2, 2012—Between May 21 and May 26,  2012, Syrian army helicopters bombed several towns in the so-called Kurd Mountain region near Latakiah. The attacks were primarily directed at the surrounding forests where members of the Free Syria Army have allegedly established themselves. At least two people—a twenty-nine-year-old woman and her two-year-old-son—were killed.

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KURDWATCH, June 2, 2012—On May 25, 2012, supporters of the Kurdish National Council attacked members of the Union of Coordinating Committees of Kurdish Youth in Syria—itself a member of the Kurdish National Council—during demonstrations that the Council had organized in the al‑ʿAntariyah district of al‑Qamishli. The Union's banners were torn up and its members were told to leave the demonstration. The conflict was triggered by the fact that the Union was demonstrating under its own name. Although the Union's supporters left to carry out their own rally, violence broke out only a short time later. Members of the Kurdish National Council confirm that the banners were torn up, but deny the violence. A supporter of the Kurdish National Council told KurdWatch, »If the Union of Coordinating Committees does not want to demonstrate under the name of the National Council, then I do not understand why they would take part in our rally. I also do not understand why they want to be a member of the National Council, but at the same time release statements against the National Council.« On the other hand, a member of the Union of Coordinating Committees of Kurdish Youth in Syria said: »It is regrettable to see how some Kurdish activists use methods similar to those of the regime in order to restrict the freedom of others. There is no provision that prohibits members of the Kurdish National Council from participating in demonstrations under their own name. We hope that leading politicians of the Kurdish National Council will condemn the incidents.«

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KURDWATCH, June 1, 2012—Nationwide protests on May 25, 2012 again resulted in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators united under the slogan »Damascus, we'll see you soon« took to the streets to demand the fall of the regime. Supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) protested under their own slogan »Prisoners of freedom«. That Friday in al‑Qamishli there was one demonstration in each of the districts of Qanat Suwais, al‑ʿAntariyah, and Kurnish. Four additional protest marches began at the demonstrator's central meeting point at the Qasimo mosque in the western district of al‑Qamischli. The organizers were the PYD, the Kurdish National Council, supporters of the Union of Kurdish Democratic Forces in Syria, as well as supporters of the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria. In al‑ʿAntariyah, supporters of the Kurdish National Council attacked supporters of the Union of Coordinating Committees of Kurdish Youth in Syria. In ʿAmuda there were three separate demonstrations organized by the PYD, the Kurdish National Council, and by various youth groups including Avahî. In al‑Hasakah there were four demonstrations. One central protest march took place in each of the cities of al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), ad‑Darbasiyah, ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), as well as in the majority Kurdish districts of Shaykh Maqsud in Aleppo and Ruknuddin and Wadi al‑Mashariʿ (Zorava) in Damascus. Participation in the Kurdish National Council's demonstrations was especially low in al‑Qamishli; in contrast, thousands took part in the funeral march for ʿAbdurrahman Aluji, the chairman of the Kurdish Democratic Party—Syria. Aluji died of a serious illness and was buried near al‑Hasakah.

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KURDWATCH, May 31, 2012—On May 23, 2012, in the course of the hearing against Munzir Iskan Ahmad (b. 1983 in Tanuriya), Jiwan Yusuf Yusuf (b. 1986 in al‑Qamishli) and Firas Jumʿah al‑Ahmad (b. 1983 in al Qamishli) [further information on the case], the criminal court in al Hasakah questioned Yusuf Nabi as a witness for the prosecution. According to Ahmad, Nabi testified that the accused had not committed the alleged police murders. Subsequently, Firas Jumʿah al‑Ahmad stated for the record that the accused were tortured in custody and forced to confess. The next session is scheduled for June 19, 2012.

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KURDWATCH, May 31, 2012—According to information from the Democratic Union Party (PYD), four PYD members died on May 9, 2012 in clashes between PYD‑supporters and supporters of the Syrian regime in the Shaykh Maqsud district of Aleppo. After regime supporters attacked bystanders, shots were exchanged between the attackers and the PYD. The PYD subsequently burned down several homes belonging to relatives of the attackers. An activist from Aleppo who is critical of the PYD explained to KurdWatch that those killed were not PYD supporters, but rather bystanderswho happened to be present. According to this activist, the PYD interfered in a conflict at the Shaykh Maqsud bus station between members of the influential Baghari family and the bus drivers from whom the Baghari family was collecting parking fees. The conflict subsequently escalated and several people were killed.

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KURDWATCH, May 30, 2012—ʿUthman Hamu and Mahmud ʿAbdurrahman Hasan (b. 1985 in al‑Malikiyah) were released from custody on May 9 and May 7 respectively. The two supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) were arrested by the State Security Service on May 2, 2012 in Wadi al‑Mashariʿ (Zorava) in Damascus [further information on the case]. Both were tortured.

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KURDWATCH, May 28, 2012—The sixteen-year-old Kharib ʿUthman Mahmud (b. in al‑Qamishli) was killed by a bomb attack in Damascus on May 21, 2012 while he was working in a restaurant.

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KURDWATCH, May 27, 2012—On May 16, 2012, Syrian border guards shot and killed Sulayman Muhammad Salih Ibrahim (b. 1991) while he was trying to leave Syria for Iraq illegally. Ibrahim had completed his regular military service a year and nine months ago, but had not yet been released from the army. After a visit to his parents, he did not return to his unit. Instead, he and six other Kurdish recruits attempted to flee to Iraq. The group was already in Iraqi territory when Syrian security forces opened fire. Ibrahim was shot and killed; two other recruits were injured. At this time, the injured are reportedly being treated at a hospital in Zakho.

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KURDWATCH, May 25, 2012—On May 7, 2012, security forces arrested and beat the medical student Khalil Yusuf Taha (b. 1991 in al‑Bab) during a demonstration on the University of Aleppo campus. Relatives have disputed his participation in the demonstration claiming that Taha only happened to be in the vicinity of the protest.

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KURDWATCH, May 23, 2012—On May 6, 2012, the dentist and activist Bilind Muhammad Maʿshuq Hamza (b. 1984 in Damascus) was arrested by employees of the State Security Service in Damascus. Until his release on May 12, Hamza was held in solitary confinement; on his first day of detention, he was tortured. Bilind Muhammad Maʿshuq Hamza had already been arrested on July 13, 2011 along with 29 other people at the so-called intellectual demonstration in Damascus. Four days later, the criminal investigation department released him.

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KURDWATCH, May 23, 2012—Nationwide protests on May 18, 2012 resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators united under the slogan »The Heroes of the University of Aleppo« took to the streets to demand the fall of the regime. Supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) protested under their own slogan, »Martyrs of Freedom«. This past Friday in al‑Qamishli there were demonstrations in each of the districts of Qanat Suwais, al‑ʿAntariyah, Qudurbak, as well as in the city center, in the immediate vicinity of several intelligence service headquarters. Three additional protest marches began at the demonstrator's central meeting point at the Qasimo mosque in the western district of al‑Qamishli. The organizers were the PYD, the Kurdish National Council, and supporters of the Union of Kurdish Democratic Forces in Syria. Security forces attacked demonstrators in Qudurbak and in the city center. In ʿAmudah there were three separate demonstrations organized by the PYD, the Kurdish National Council, and by various youth groups including Avahî. In al‑Hasakah there were four demonstrations. One central protest march took place in each of the cities of al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), ad‑Darbasiyah, ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), as well as in the majority Kurdish districts of Shaykh Maqsud in Aleppo and Ruknuddin and Wadi al‑Mashariʿ (Zorava) in Damascus. For the first time in weeks, a PYD demonstration took place in ʿAfrin. Overall participation by Kurdish National Council supporters in the Kurdish regions is currently in decline.

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KURDWATCH, May 21, 2012—Two of the five teachers who were forcibly transferred by the educational authorities in al‑Hasakah on March 13, 2012 [further information on the case] have fled with their families to Iraqi-Kurdistan. The teachers in question are ʿAbdurrahman Jawhar (b. 1974 in al-Malikiyah, two children) and Nizar Bahram ʿIsa (b. 1966 in al‑Qahtaniyah, four children). After the transfers had been announced, protest demonstrations took place in al‑Qahtaniyah. »A few days after the demonstrations, we received death threats. Unknown people threw white burial shrouds with the words ›Traitor, this is your burial shroud‹ into our yards«, ʿIsa told KurdWatch. In addition, all five teachers were asked to attest in writing that they would no longer take part in dissident activities and they would work together with the Baʿth party office in al‑Qahtaniyah. Jawhar and ʿIsa are staying with their families at a refugee camp near the city of Duhok, where approximately 250 Kurdish families from Syria are currently being housed.

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KURDWATCH, May 19, 2012—According to information from his relatives, the recruit Sipan Muhammad ʿAli Ose, who disappeared in Homs on April 19, 2012 [further information on the case], is being held at the Tadmur prison. A former fellow prisoner informed the family about Ose's detention. His relatives then visited him at the Tadmur prison. One relative told KurdWatch, »We were allowed to see Sipan for half and hour. Although he had permission for a short leave, he is being accused of defying military orders. The first hearing is to take place in about a month«. Ose was tortured when incarcerated.

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KURDWATCH, 16. May 2012—Nationwide protests on 11. May 2012 resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators demanded the fall of the regime. Once again protests in the Kurdish regions this week did not take place under a united slogan. Only a few demonstrators joined the all-Syrian slogan »God's support and a speedy victory«. An activist told KurdWatch, »Our revolution is committed to freedom and dignity. We no longer have sympathy for the fact that so many of the slogans that are designated as the main slogans have an Islamic context«. Most of the demonstrators chose their own slogan; for example, supporters of the Democratic Union Party took to the streets under the slogan »Support for the Kurds in Aleppo«.
The atmosphere in al‑Qamishli was tense after the PYD attacked other demonstrators in the district of al‑Hilaliyah last Friday. This week three different protests departed from the demonstrators' central meeting point at the Qasimo mosque: The PYD organized a central demonstration, in which supporters from various Kurdish regions took part. The Kurdish National Council also called for a central demonstration, however, only a few thousand people participated. In addition, several hundred supporters of the Union of Kurdish Democratic Forces in Syria protested. Further protests took place in the districts of al‑ʿAntariyah, Qudurbak, and Qanat Suwais. In Qudurbak security forces attacked the protesters and the demonstration was quickly dispersed. In ʿAmudah there were three separate demonstrations, organized by the PYD, the Kurdish National Council, and by various youth groups, including Avahî. In al‑Hasakah there were four demonstrations. One central protest march took place in each of the cities of al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), ad‑Darbasiyah, and ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), as well as in the majority Kurdish districts of Shaykh Maqsud in Aleppo and Ruknuddin and Wadi al‑Mashariʿ (Zorava) in Damascus. Overall the number of demonstrators in the Kurdish regions is currently in decline.

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KURDWATCH, May 14, 2012—Hasan ʿAbdulʿazim, chairman of the National Union of the Forces for Democratic Change, commented on the Kurdish question in an interview on May 7, 2012 in the chat room »Resistance from Western Kurdistan«. He explained that while there are Kurds in Syria, there is neither a Syrian-Kurdistan nor a region predominantly settled by Kurds. According to ʿAbdulʿazim, even in al‑Hasakah province, the proportion of Kurds is only between 33 and 35 percent; Arab residents are in the majority. Moreover, he rejected all forms of political decentralization. Instead, the National Union, together with the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and in consultation with ten other Kurdish parties, supports the right to administrative decentralization based on the currently existing model of local administrations. At the same time ʿAbdulʿazim emphasized that he would not stand against more extensive Kurdish demands if the majority of the Syrian people were to accept them in a democratic election. In reaction to ʿAbdulʿazim's comments, the PYD chairman, Salih Muslim Muhammad, communicated in a press release that his party's use of the term West Kurdistan is not intended to convey that this region does not or should not belong to Syria.

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KURDWATCH, May 13, 2012—During a demonstration in ʿAmudah on May 9, 2012, conflicts arose between supporters of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party in Syria (Democratic Yekîtî) and supporters of the Kurdish Union Party in Syria (Yekîtî). While Yekîtî supporters wanted to display a banner calling for federalism, supporters of the Democratic Yekîtî declined to do this, explaining that the Kurdish National Council had spoken out against this demand. Several people from both parties were injured. A Yekîtî activist told KurdWatch that the atmosphere between supporters of both parties had been tense for weeks.

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KURDWATCH, May 10, 2012—On April 27, 2012, the Air Force Intelligence Service released Muhammad Jan Muhammad Saʿid (b. 1991), an activist for the Movement of Young Kurds (Tevgera Ciwanên Kurd), from the custody. Two days earlier he had been arrested near the bus station in al‑Hasakah. He was on his way to a preparatory meeting for the »Day of the Kurdish Journalist«. Saʿid was initially brought to the Air Force Intelligence Service in al‑Hasakah with his hands and feet shackled and his eyes bound. There he was made to undress and was beaten with a whip on his back and legs until one of the torturers told his accomplices not to use the whip any longer because it would leave marks. Saʿid was questioned about his participation in dissident demonstrations as well as about articles that he had published online. Security forces further reproached him, claiming that the Kurds had always been against the regime, that they wanted to destroy Syria, were controlled from abroad, and received weapons and money from Europeans, Americans, and Turks. Threats were also made that the detainee would »never see the sun again«. In the early evening, Saʿid was brought to the Air Force Intelligence Service's quarters in al‑Qamishli, where he was also interrogated, beaten, and insulted. On the second day of his detention, the torture was less, but Saʿid's hands and feet were still shackled and his eyes remained bound through his entire time in custody. He was not given any food and only received a glass of water after protesting loudly. On the morning of April 27, Saʿid was left near the al‑Qamishli airport with his eyes still bound. Prior to this he was forced to sign a statement that he would no longer take part in dissident demonstrations. His money—a total of 3 500 Syrian liras—was gone and his cell phone was destroyed. The detainee was freed after his friends protested for his release on the evening of April 26, 2012 in ʿAmudah and ad‑Darbasiyah. A delegation of doctors and lawyers had threatened the district manager of ad‑Darbasiyah that demonstrators would set his office on fire if Saʿid was not freed by the following day. Thereupon the district manager agreed that Saʿid would be released by 11 o'clock the following morning. According to Saʿid, activists are repeatedly being arrested and released a few days later, following comparable protests.

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KURDWATCH, May 10, 2012—Kurdish parties, activists, and youth groups called for a boycott of the Syrian parliamentary elections on May 7, 2012. The Kurdish National Council announced this decision in a press release on May 5, 2012 and called on its supporters to take part in rallies and demonstrations to condemn the circumstances under which the elections are taking place. »It cannot be that elections are being carried out while at the same time in many locations in our country, civilians are being shot at with heavy artillery«, ʿUmar Kalo, a member of the Kurdish National Council's media office, explained to KurdWatch. The Union of Kurdish Democratic Forces in Syria, the Kurdish Future Movement, and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) also called for a boycott of the elections.

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KURDWATCH, May 10, 2012—Nationwide protests on May 4, 2012 resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators demanded the fall of the regime. This week protests in the Kurdish regions took place under two slogans: The all-Syrian slogan was »Our constancy is our salvation«; in contrast, activists from the ranks of the Kurdish National Council (formerly the Kurdish Patriotic Conference) as well as supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) took to the streets under the slogan »Zorava is not alone«. A total of five demonstrations took place in al‑Qamishli: in the districts of al‑Hilaliyah, al‑ʿAntariyah, Qudurbak, Qanat Suwais, and Kurnish. Security forces prevented a demonstration in the majority Arab district of Tay. During the demonstration in al‑Hilaliyah, PYD supporters attacked members of the Union of Kurdish Democratic Forces in Syria. Several people were injured, including ʿAbdussamad ʿUmar, one of the Union's leading politicians. In ʿAmudah, there were three separate demonstrations organized by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the Kurdish National Council, and by various youth groups, including Avahî. In al‑Hasakah there were four demonstrations. One central protest march took place in each of the cities of al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), ad‑Darbasiyah, and ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), as well as in the majority Kurdish districts of Shaykh Maqsud in Aleppo and Ruknuddin and Wadi al‑Mashariʿ (Zorava) in Damascus.

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KURDWATCH, May 9, 2012—On May 2, 2012, security forces with billy clubs attacked a demonstration of Democratic Union Party (PYD) supporters in Zorava, a majority Kurdish district of Damascus. ʿUthman Hamu and Mahmud ʿAbdurrahman Hasan (b. 1985 in al‑Malikiyah) were arrested in the process. In reaction, PYD supporters called for further demonstrations. In al‑Qamishli, al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), and ʿAfrin, as well as in Zorava itself, protests took place on May 2 and 3 under the slogan »Zorava is not alone«.

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KURDWATCH, May 7, 2012—Early on the morning of May 3, 2012, security forces stormed several dormitories in Aleppo. At least 150 people are said to have been arrested, among them the Kurdish math student Ibrahim Sabri Hasan. According to eyewitness reports, shots were heard on the university campus. At least five students were allegedly killed. In addition, numerous students were injured as they tried to flee; there were many broken bones as students jumped from upper floors. In fear of further attacks by security forces, dozens of students spent the night outdoors. The university announced on its website on May 3 that all courses until exams on May 13 have been cancelled. The university campus and the dorms, which accommodate up to 18 000 students, have been closed. While the people of Aleppo have hardly participated in dissident demonstrations thus far, rallies have repeatedly taken place at the university, which is attended by students from all over Syria.

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KURDWATCH, May 7, 2012—Early on the morning of May 3, 2012, security forces stormed several dormitories in Aleppo. At least 150 people are said to have been arrested, among them the Kurdish math student Ibrahim Sabri Hasan. According to eyewitness reports, shots were heard on the university campus. At least five students were allegedly killed. In addition, numerous students were injured as they tried to flee; there were many broken bones as students jumped from upper floors. In fear of further attacks by security forces, dozens of students spent the night outdoors. The university announced on its website on May 3 that all courses until exams on May 13 have been cancelled. The university campus and the dorms, which accommodate up to 18 000 students, have been closed. While the people of Aleppo have hardly participated in dissident demonstrations thus far, rallies have repeatedly taken place at the university, which is attended by students from all over Syria.

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KURDWATCH, May 6, 2012—On April 19, 2012, the recruit Sipan Muhammad ʿAli Ose (b. 1992 in al‑Malikiyah) disappeared in Rastan, thirty kilometers north of Homs. Ose had wanted to take the bus from Homs to spend a short break with relatives; however, he was not registered as a passenger at the bus station.

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KURDWATCH, May 4, 2012—On April 25, 2012, the student and activist Jigarkhwin ʿAbdurrazzaq Mula Ahmad (b. 1985 in al‑Qamishli), who was arrested on March 3, 2012 [further information on the case], was transferred to Aleppo's central prison. Two relatives were allowed to visit him there for half an hour. Prior to his transfer, Mula Ahmad was held and tortured in the Political Security Directorate's remand prison in Damascus. The hearing scheduled on April 28, 2012 before the military court in Aleppo did not take place; a new date has not yet been set. A relative of the detainee told KurdWatch, »Jigarkhwin is currently being held in a civil prison. Therefore we hope that his file will be handed over to a civil court.«

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KURDWATCH, May 3, 2012—Nationwide protests on April 27, 2012 resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators demanded the fall of the regime. Protests in the Kurdish regions this week again took place under two slogans: the all-Syrian slogan was »God's command has been issued, do not accelerate it!«. In contrast, activists from the ranks of the Kurdish National Council (formerly the Kurdish Patriotic Conference), as well as supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) took to the streets under the slogan »Federalism and the protection of the people«. There were a total of five demonstrations in al‑Qamishli, in the districts of al‑Hilaliyah, al‑ʿAntariyah, Qudurbak, and Qanat Suwais, as well as in the majority Arab district of Tay. In addition, the PYD mobilized its supporters from all of the Kurdish regions in one central demonstration in which several thousand people took part. In ʿAmudah there were three separate demonstrations, organized by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the Kurdish National Council, and various youth groups, including Avahî. In al‑Hasakah, four demonstrations took place; one central protest march took place in each of the cities of al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), ad‑Darbasiyah, ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), as well as in the majority Kurdish district of Shaykh Maqsud in Aleppo.

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KURDWATCH, May 2, 2012—In light of the ongoing negotiations with the Syrian National Council, the Kurdish National Council (formerly the Kurdish Patriotic Conference) drafted a new political program on April 21, 2012. The new program differs from the old in that it no longer explicitly calls for the Kurds' right to self-determination and for political decentralization. In a press release, Ismaʿil Hami, secretary of the Kurdish Union Party in Syria (Yekîtî) and member of the Kurdish National Council, emphasized that the demand for self-determination nevertheless remains part of the program. According to Hami, this demand is recognizable in the call to seek the constitutional recognition of the Kurdish people and its national identity and the recognition of the Kurdish language as an official language, as well as the recognition of the legitimate national rights of the Kurdish people in accordance with international norms and conventions.

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KURDWATCH, May 1, 2012—On April 25, 2012, employees of the criminal investigation department in al‑Qamishli arrested ʿAbdulkhaliq Hasan, a member of the PYD‑affiliated People's Protection Committee. When supporters of the Democratic Union Party‑(PYD) organized a rally before the courthouse in al‑Qamishli the following morning to protest against the arrest, security forces attacked them with billy clubs and tear gas. Two demonstrators were arrested. Another PYD rally subsequently took place in ʿAmuda; moreover, an employee of the security forces in al‑Qamishli as well as two other members of the security forces in ʿAmudah were taken hostage in order to force the release of the detainees. Their release happened that same evening, at which point the PYD ended the hostage situation.

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KURDWATCH, May 1, 2012—On April 26, 2012, security forces arrested the political science student Maʿsum Muhammad Sharif (b. 1993 in al‑Qamishli) in front of a dormitory in Damascus. The reasons for his arrest are not yet known.

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KURDWATCH, April 28, 2012—On April 21, 2012, employees of the Military Intelligence Service arrested ʿAdil ʿAbdullah ʿAli (b. 1952) in his house in Rumaylan near al‑Jawadiyah and transferred him to Damascus. The reason for his arrest is not yet known.

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KURDWATCH, April 27, 2012—On April 25, 2012 the criminal court in al-Hasakah postponed yet again the hearing of Munzir Iskan Ahmad (b. 1983 in Tanuriya) [further information on the case], Jiwan Yusuf Yusuf (b. 1986 in al‑Qamishli), and Firas Jumʿah al‑Ahmad (b. 1983 in al‑Qamishli). Al‑Ahmad and Yusuf have been charged with the same offense as Munzir Iskan Ahmad, and were arrested on October 8 and 19, 2008. As with the sessions on March 20 and on February 21, 2012, the reason for the postponement was the failure of witnesses to appear. The next session is scheduled for May 23, 2012.

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KURDWATCH, April 27, 2012—Despite the existing ceasefire, nationwide protests on April 20, 2012 again resulted in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators demanded the fall of the regime. Whereas in the previous week, all Kurdish demonstrators took to the streets under a unified, all-Syrian slogan, this week there were once again two slogans. The majority demonstrated under the nationwide slogan »We will win, Assad will lose«. Other demonstrators took to the streets under the slogan »Here is Kurdistan«. This slogan was in protest of the Syrian National Council chairman's remarks that there is no »Syrian-Kurdistan« [further information on the remarks]. As in previous weeks, five demonstrations took place in al‑Qamishli, in the districts of al‑Hilaliyah, al‑ʿAntariyah, Qudurbak, Kurnish, and Qanat Suwais. In ʿAmudah there were three separate demonstrations, organized by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the Kurdish Patriotic Conference, as well as by various youth groups, including Avahî. In al‑Hasakah there were four demonstrations. One central protest march took place in each of the districts of al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), and ad‑Darbasiyah, as well as in the majority Kurdish inhabited district of Ruknuddin in Damascus. Attacks by security forces against demonstrators occurred in al‑Hasakah and al‑Qamishli.

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KURDWATCH, April 26, 2012—On April 10, 2012, the Criminal Court in al‑Hasakah postponed the next hearing against the activist and writer Miral ʿAbdulʿaziz Shaykha (b. 1979) until May 15, 2012. During a demonstration in al‑Hasakah on August 26, 2011, employees of the Political Security Directorate arrested the activist known as Miral Biroreda for his role in organizing demonstrations as well as for his membership in a youth group. Shaykha remained in solitary confinement until October 6, 2011 when the investigative judge released him on bail. The same day he was detained by the criminal investigation department. His detention lasted until October 15. While in custody, Shaykha was tortured. Among other things, he suffered from internal bleeding in the area of his kidneys as a result of blows to the stomach. Charges have been raised against Shaykha pursuant to Articles 287 and 335 of the Criminal Code.

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KURDWATCH, April 23, 2012—In an interview on April 16, 2012 with the Iraqi-Kurdish magazine Rûdaw, Burhan Ghaliun, Chairman of the Syrian National Council, commented on the Kurdish question. He explained that in Syria there are areas that are predominantly settled by Kurds, but there is no »Syrian Kurdistan«—neither geographically nor politically. To speak of Syrian Kurdistan is to apply the Iraqi model to Syria. He further explained that if the Syrian Kurds continue to cling to a federalist model, this will lead to misunderstandings with other groups who will interpret these demands as a desire for secession. At the same time, he emphasized that in past decades, the Kurds have been discriminated against and marginalized, and that the Syrian parties and political movements recognize Kurdish national identity. »I say the Syrian state and the political rulers must provide the conditions for protecting this identity. The right to education in Kurdish and developing Kurdish culture and literature, as the second culture in Syria, must be provided.« He further stated that the Syrian National Council stands for a decentralized system, in which provincial and city councils will receive a broad-range of authority. In reaction to Ghaliun's comments, numerous dissident demonstrations took place in the Kurdish regions on April 20, 2012 under the slogan »Here is Kurdistan!«. Ghaliun had already drawn criticism in 2011, when he compared the Syrian Kurds to immigrants in France—he subsequently retracted this statement.

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KURDWATCH, April 22, 2012—On April 19, 2012, supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) organized a rally in ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî) to push for the release of Kaniwar ʿAli, Ibrahim ʿAli, and Zakariya Shaykh from custody. The three members of the PYD's People's Protection Committee had been arrested that same day. Supporters at the rally threatened that if the three were not released, they would free them themselves. The detainees were released from custody a few hours later.

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KURDWATCH, April 21, 2012—On April 14, 2012, the exile organization of the National Union of the Forces for Democratic Change held a special conference in Paris. At the conference, the alliance's stance toward the Kurdish question was reformulated. The alliance declared that, in accordance with international conventions and within the framework of national unity, it was advocating for constitutional recognition of the national rights of the Kurdish people, as well as a just and democratic solution to the Kurdish question in Syria. Moreover, the alliance is demanding an end to all racist and discriminatory measures against the Kurds.

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KURDWATCH, April 20, 2012—From April 13 to April 16, 2012, the General Assembly of the Syrian Democratic Platform took place in Cairo. A total of more than two hundred Syrian activists belong to this union. A major item on the agenda was the development of effective mechanisms for supporting the Syrian revolution, and especially for uniting the opposition. Regarding the Kurdish question, the final declaration circulated on April 17 states that a democratic, pluralistic Syria provides the best guarantee for the equal treatment of all citizens. The declaration further states that the constitution must safeguard the rights and duties of all citizens regardless of their ethnicity. Moreover, the declaration demands that the solution to the Kurdish question be carried out in accordance with international group and human rights’ declarations.

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KURDWATCH, April 18, 2012—During nationwide protests on April 13, 2012, the second day of the ceasefire announced by the government, fewer people died than in previous months. Nevertheless the demonstrators, who took to the streets under a common slogan »The revolution of all Syrians«, demanded the fall of the regime. Five demonstrations took place in al‑Qamishli, in the districts of al‑Hilaliyah, al‑ʿAntariyah, Qudurbak, Kurnish, and Qanat Suwais. In ʿAmudah there were three separate demonstrations, organized by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the Kurdish Patriotic Conference, as well as by various youth groups including Avahî. In al‑Hasakha there were four demonstrations. Once central demonstration took place in each of the cities of al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), ad‑Darbasiyah, and ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), as well as in the majority Kurdish inhabited districts of Schaikh Maqsud in Aleppo and Ruknuddin in Damascus. Further protests occurred in Tall Abyad (Girê Sipî) near ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), as well as in Qabbasin (approximately 50 km northeast of Aleppo).

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KURDWATCH, April 16, 2012—The recruit Alan Barzan ʿUthman (b. 1991 in al‑Qamishli) was killed on April 9, 2012 in Tall Rifʿat, which is located approximately thirty kilometers north of Aleppo. Numerous activists as well as relatives of the deceased participated in a funeral procession that took place in the course of the burial on April 10, in al‑Qamishli. The body was subsequently buried near al‑Jawadiyah. The mourners demanded the fall of the regime and chanted dissident slogans. According to official statements, ʿUthman died in a rebel attack. The exact circumstances of his death are not yet known.

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KURDWATCH, April 16, 2012—On March 9, 2012, the Central Committee of the Kurdish Left Party in Syria announced that its chairman, Muhammad Musa Muhammad, had been barred from the party. According to Central Committee member Salih Gado, Muhammad had convened an illegitimate party congress. Gado reports that there are currently two parties with the name »Kurdish Left Party«. One party is distinguished by the addition of »Central Committee«, the second by the addition of »Congress«.
In a declaration on March 12, 2012, the Kurdish Left Party in Syria (Congress) announced that at the party congress on 9. March 9, 2012, Salih Gado was banned from the party and Muhammad Musa Muhammad was elected secretary.

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KURDWATCH, April 14, 2012—The activist Khalaf Muhammad al‑Qatna, known as Ciwan, was allegedly kidnapped by members of the Democratic Union Party (PYD). Ciwan was kidnapped on March 29, 2012 and later killed. An activist who was present during the kidnapping has identified four members of the PYD’s People’s Committee in ad‑Darbasiyah—Kamal Husayn Ibrahim, Shivan Salamas Khalil, Rezan Ahmad ʿAli, and Muhammad Ibrahim ʿIsa—as the perpetrators. They are currently in custody; Shivan Salamas Khalil and Rezan Ahmad ʿAli are injured. ʿAli Ismaʿil Ibrahim, a PYD‑member from ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), was also allegedly involved. [Further information on the case.]

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KURDWATCH, April 12, 2012—According to a report by the Qatari news channel Al‑Jazeera, an internal document from the ruling Syrian Baʿth party proposed that dissident protests in the Kurdish-inhabited areas of Aleppo be suppressed not with assistance from regular security forces, but rather in cooperation with the PKK.

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KURDWATCH, April 11, 2012—Nationwide protests on April 6, 2012, again resulted in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators demanded the fall of the regime. Whereas last week all demonstrators in the Kurdish regions took to the streets under their own slogan, this week several groups protested under the nationwide slogan »He who equips a conqueror does the conquering«. Other Kurdish youth groups protested under their own slogan »The national rights of the Kurdish people stand above all committees«. Five demonstrations took place in al-Qamishli, in the districts of al‑Hilaliyah, al‑ʿAntariyah, Qudurbak, Kurnish, and Qanat Suwais. In ʿAmudah there were three separate demonstrations organized by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the Kurdish Patriotic Conference, as well as by various youth groups, including Avahî. There were four demonstrations in al-Hasakah, and one central protest march took place in each of the cities of al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), ad‑Darbasiyah, ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), as well as in ʿAfrin. The demonstrations were largely peaceful.

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KURDWATCH, April 8, 2012—On March 27, 2012, the activist and law student Rodi ʿAbdurrahman ʿUthman (b. 1987 in al‑Qamishli) was released after twelve days in custody. He was arrested on March 15, 2012 by employees of the State Security Service in Damascus. While he was in custody, he was subjected, among other things, to electric shocks, whippings, and canings; he was also beaten on his back with the butt of a rifle. ʿUthman had already been arrested several times. He was first arrested during the course of the unrest in the Kurdish regions in 2004. Detentions followed in May and August of 2011. Most recently, the activist was detained for 120 days in the ʿAdra prison near Damascus. Following his release, Rodi ʿAbdurrahman ʿUthman fled to Jordan.

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KURDWATCH, April 7, 2012—On March 30, 2012, Ibrahim Khalil Biro (Yekîtî politburo member and member of the Executive Committee of the Kurdish Patriotic Conference), Muhammad Yusuf (member of the Executive Committee of the Kurdish Patriotic Conference), and Salih ʿUmar Sufi (member of the politburo of the Syrian-Kurdish Democratic Reconciliation [Rêkeftin]), as well as their smugglers, Muhammad Salah ʿUthman and ʿUmar Ibrahim, were released from custody in al‑Qamishli [further information on the case]. The civil court in al‑Qamishli dropped the charge of participating in unauthorized demonstrations and insulting the head of state. However, the court found the defendants guilty on the charge of illegally crossing the border. The time spent in investigative custody was credited toward the prison term, and the detainees were released. In response to a question about the involvement of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in their arrest, Ibrahim Biro told KurdWatch that regular border officials had arrested him and his companions. The PYD was not involved in the arrest.

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KURDWATHCH, April 7, 2012—On March 30, 2012, Kurdish youth groups demonstrated under their own, Kurdish-specific slogan for the first time. Until then, all of the youth groups had taken to the streets under a unified all-Syrian slogan. The decision was made in reaction to the conference of the Syrian opposition, which took place on March 27, 2012 in Istanbul [further information on the conference]. As early as September 2011, the youth groups had announced that they would demonstrate under their own slogan if the Facebook page »The Syrian Revolution 2011« continued to refuse to publish demonstration slogans in the Kurdish language.

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KURDWATCH, April 5, 2012—On March 29, 2012, Khalaf Muhammad al‑Qatna (b. 1990) died under circumstances that remain unclear. According to one version, four armed Democratic Union Party (PYD) members stormed his apartment in ad‑Darbasiyah and accused him of having insulted Abdullah Öcalan. They abducted the Ahrar youth group activist, known under the code name Ciwan, and took him to a nearby town. When security forces intervened, Kamal Husayn, a member of the PYD-affiliated People’s Committee, was killed, another kidnapper was injured, and another arrested. Ciwan was allegedly already dead when security forces arrived. Along with bullet wounds, his body is said to have exhibited signs of torture to his head.
According to a second version, PYD members were attempting to free Ciwan from the control of an armed gang when security forces intervened, killing both the PYD‑member and Ciwan. In fact, Ciwan’s family had previously contacted the PYD and asked for either Ciwan’s release, or, if the PYD was not responsible for his kidnapping, to intercede in the affair.
While some activists of the Ahrar group are harsh critics of the PKK, Ciwan was considered reserved in his opinions. One activist told KurdWatch that the PYD had »sought out the weakest of the group in order to intimidate everyone else«. Two separate funeral marches took place to mark the burials of the two who were killed.

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KURDWATCH, April 4, 2012—Nationwide protests on March 30, 2012 resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators demanded the fall of the regime. While demonstrators in the Kurdish regions took to the streets under the slogan »[We demand] the rights of the Kurdish people«, demonstrations in the rest of the country took place under the slogan »Muslims and Arabs have disappointed us«. Five demonstrations took place in al‑Qamishli, in the districts of al‑Hilaliyah, al‑ʿAntariyah, Qudurbak, Kurnish, and Qanat Suwais. In ʿAmudah, there were three separate demonstrations, organized by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the Kurdish Patriotic Conference, as well as by various youth groups including Avahî. In ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), two separate demonstrations took place that were organized by the PYD and the Kurdish Patriotic Conference, respectively. There were three demonstrations in al‑Hasakah; one centralized protest march took place in each of the cities of al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), ad‑Darbasiyah, as well as in Aleppo. In the majority Kurdish-inhabited district of al‑Ashrafiyah in Aleppo, police attacked the demonstrators, conducted house searches, and arrested several people.

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KURDWATCH, April 1, 2012—At around six pm on March 29, 2012, a public bus belonging to the Haval bus company came under machine gun fire while on the way from al‑Qamishli to al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik). According to an activist from al‑Qamishli, the bus driver survived the attack »as if by a miracle«. The driver was an activist and critic of the Democratic Union Party (PYD). Given this background, it is suspected that the PYD is responsible for the attack. According to other rumors, the attack was directed at the bus company. The company is said to have refused to provide busses for PYD supporters on Newroz. The owner of the company, Ilyas Ramo, explained to KurdWatch, however, that there were no conflicts with the PYD.

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KURDWATCH, March 31, 2012—On March 27, 2012, the Kurdish Patriotic Conference left a meeting of the Syrian Opposition in Istanbul in protest. The Syrian National Council had prepared the meeting. In his speech, ʿAbdulhakim Bashar, chairman of the Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria (el‑Partî), and member of the Kurdish Patriotic Conference, justified this step by explaining that the Kurdish party alliance had not been part of the preparations and that the final declaration up for discussion did not take Kurdish demands into consideration. Sardar Murad, representative of the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria, told KurdWatch that as far as Kurdish-specific demands were concerned, the final declaration suggested by the Syrian National Council remained far behind the declaration of Tunis.
At the meeting it was determined that the Syrian National Council is to be the official contact and representative of the Syrian people. The body is to be restructured and further groups are to join. The majority of Kurdish groups and individuals who are members of the Syrian National Council instead declared their withdrawal from the union.

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KURDWATCH, March 28, 2012—On March 20, 2012, the Criminal Court in al‑Hasakah postponed the hearing of Munzir Oskan Ahmad (b. 1983 in Tanuriya). The reason for the postponement was the failure of witnesses to appear. This was also the case for the session on February 21. Ahmad is charged pursuant to Articles 287, 267 and 305 of the Criminal Code.
Munzir Oskan Ahmad was arrested on September 4, 2008 by the criminal investigation department in al‑Qamishli. He was transferred to the Political Security Directorate in al‑Hasakah and subsequently to the Political Security Directorate in Damascus. There he was detained in the al-fihaʾ remand prison. On October, 2008, Ahmad was handed over to the State Security Service. As of March, 2009, he once again became the responsibility of the Political Security Directorate; he was detained in the ʿAdra prison near Damascus. During his first five months in custody, Ahmad was tortured.
On January 08, 2011, Ahmad came before the court for the first time—the Supreme State Security Court in Damascus was responsible for his case. After its dissolution in May 2011 [download decree] Ahmad was transferred to al‑Qamishli on May 19, 2011, and on June 1, 2011, he was transferred to the al‑Hasakah prison. Since then, the Criminal Court in al‑Hasakah has been responsible for his case. To date, four hearings have taken place before this court. The next session is scheduled for April 25, 2012.

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KURDWATCH, March 27, 2012—Nationwide protests on March 23,  2012, resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators united under the slogan »We’re coming, Damascus« took to the streets to demand the fall of the regime. Five demonstrations took place in al‑Qamischli, in the districts of al‑Hilaliyah, al‑ʿAntariyah, Qudurbak, Kurnish, and Qanat Suwais. Three separate demonstrations took place in ʿAmudah. The Democratic Union Party (PYD), the Kurdish Patriotic Conference, as well as various youth groups, including Avahî organized the demonstrations. Three more demonstrations took place in al-Hasakah, while one centralized demonstration took place in each of the cities of al-Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), Darbasiyah, ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), and ʿAfrin as well as in Aleppo. The demonstrations in ʿAfrin and Aleppo were organized by the PYD. All of the protests were largely peaceful.

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KURDWATCH, March 24, 2012—On 13. March 2012, the education authorities in al‑Hasakah ordered the transfer of five teachers. The teachers in question are Asʿad Sulaiman, ʿAli Sallum as‑Sanjar, Jihad Yusuf ʿAyash, ʿAbdurrahman Jawhar, and Nizar Bahram ʿIsa. Jawhar and ʿIsa are Kurds from al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî). The thirty-six year old ʿAbdurrahman Jawhar told KurdWatch that he and three of his transferred colleagues who also taught in al‑Qahtaniyah visited the branch of the education authorities there and asked about the reasons for their transfer. According to Jawhar, those in charge simply explained that the decision was in the interest of the general public. After government officials made the transfers public, hundreds of people, including many students, took part in a rally on March 13 in front of the education authorities in al‑Qahtaniyah and demanded the transfer’s reversal. Several people were injured when security forces attacked the gathering.

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KURDWATCH, March 23, 2012—OnMarch 7, 2012, the Union of Coordinating Committees of Kurdish Youth in Syria, one of the largest youth groups, announced its entrance into the Kurdish Patriotic Conference. This occurred after several rounds of negotiation in which the Union had to forgo its demand that young people should have a thirty percent share of representation in the conference. Just one week prior, on February 29, 2012, the Kurdish Patriotic Conference had announced the accession of four parties and seventeen youth groups [further information]. Of the major Kurdish youth groups, only Avahî, a union of various groups, is not a member of the Kurdish Patriotic Conference.

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KURDWATCH, March 22, 2012—On March 18, 2012, the activist and physician Dr. Farzand ʿUmar (b. 1970 in Aleppo, married, two children) was arrested at the international airport in Damascus. ʿUmar is a member of the oppositional group »Kurdish Spring«. The reasons for his arrest are not yet known.

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KURDWATCH, March 20, 2012—Nationwide protests on March 16, 2012 resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators united under the slogan »Immediate Military Intervention« took to the streets to demand the fall of the regime. Five demonstrations took place in al‑Qamischli, in the districts of al‑Hilaliyah, al‑ʿAntariyah, Qudurbak, Kurnish, and Qanat Suwais. Two separate demonstrations took place in ʿAmudah; four demonstrations took place in al‑Hasakah. Demonstrators in al‑Hasakah attempted to proceed into the city center from a majority Arab district. Security forces intervened with billy clubs, tear gas and shot into the crowd. Several people were injured. Security forces also shot into the crowd in the majority Kurdish district of al‑Mufti, killing Idris Ahmad Rasho (b. 1992) in the process. One centralized demonstration took place in each of the cities of al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), and ʿAyn al ʿArab (Kobanî) as well as in the majority Kurdish districts of Shaykh Maqsud in Aleppo and Ruknuddin in Damascus.

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KURDWATCH, March 19, 2012—Ibrahim ʿAbdullatif Tamr (b. 1990 in ad‑Darbasiyah) was killed on March 7, 2012 in al‑Harak near Darʿa (approximately 85 km south of Damascus). According to official statements, he was killed during a Syrian army operation. Since the body had several shots to the back, relatives expressed doubt about this version of events. In the course of the burial on March 8 in ad‑Darbasiyah, a funeral march took place in which thousands of members of the opposition participated. The mourners demanded the fall of the regime and chanted dissident slogans.

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KURDWATCH, March 17, 2012—At 11 o’clock local time on March 12, 2012, the eight anniversary of the 2004 unrest [download report], hundreds of thousands of people took part in a minute of silence to commemorate the victims. Tens of thousands subsequently participated in demonstrations in al‑Qamishli, ʿAmudah, al‑Hasakah, al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), ad‑Darbasiyah, al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), ʿAfrin, Jindiras, and Aleppo. Security forces using billy clubs and tear gas prevented participants in the rally in Qudurbak (al‑Qamishli) from marching into the city center. The participants responded by throwing stones, at which time security forces opened fire. At the rally in al‑Hilaliyah (al‑Qamishli) security forces advanced upon demonstrators with billy clubs. Several people were injured in al‑Qamishli, including ʿAbdussalam ʿAbdulghani (b. 1995) and Nojdar Muhammad Khair (b. 1995). Numerous businesses in the Kurdish regions remained closed; security forces looted and destroyed several shops in Qudurbak and al‑Hilaliyah that took part in the boycott. In ʿAmudah, demonstrators occupied the old building of the Military Intelligence Service and threw a statue of the late president Hafiz al‑Assad from the roof. No altercations with security forces are said to have occurred.

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KURDWATCH, March 17, 2012—On March 12, 2012, twelve supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) who are being detained in the al‑Faihaʾ remand prison in Damascus began a hunger strike. Those involved are Dalil Muhammad Amin Muhammad, Bahzad Nayif Hasan, Hogir Muhammad Ismaʿil, Hamdi Salah Hasan, Raman Tamr, Farhan Muhammad Bashir, Ahmad Muhammad Saʿid Hasan, Azad Muhammad Sharif Ramadan, Jigar ʿAbdulkarim Hajji, Ahmad ʿAbdullah Hajji, Mariam Muhammad Salmo, and Hadiyah ʿAli Yusuf. According to information from relatives, the hunger strike is expected to last until March 16. By going on a hunger strike, the detainees intend to commemorate the victims of the Kurdish uprising of 2004 and the 1988 poison gas attack on Halabja.

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 KURDWATCH, March 15, 2012—According to information from the Kurdish Union Party in Syria (Yekîtî), Ibrahim Biro (member of the Yekîtî politburo and member of the Executive Committee of the Kurdish Patriotic Conference), Muhammad Yusuf (member of the Executive Committee of the Kurdish Patriotic Conference), Salih Sufi (member of the Syrian-Kurdish Democratic Reconciliation [Rêkeftin] politburo) as well as the two smugglers arrested with them have been on a hunger strike since March  7, 2012 [further information on the case]. The group was arrested on February 6, 2012 while attempting to illegally cross the Iraqi-Syrian border. Following their arrest, the detainees, who are currently being held in the Political Security Directorate’s al‑Faihaʾ remand prison in Damascus, were turned over to the Military Intelligence Service in Damascus, which then transferred them to the Political Security Directorate. The detainees are demanding a swift transfer to the al‑Qamishli prison, a measure that the Political Security Directorate has already ordered, but has not yet been carried out.

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KURDWATCH, March 15, 2012—On March 10, 2012, supporters of the regime attacked a television team from the Ronahî station, which has ties to the Democratic Union Party (PYD). The attack occurred in the majority Kurdish inhabited Shaykh Maqsud district of Aleppo. In the course of the attack, Mariam Jamil Salmo (geb. 1961), an activist for the PYD’s women’s organization »Yekîtiya Star« known by the name Gule, was seriously injured. She succumbed to her injuries on the morning of March 13. In reaction to the assault, PYD supporters and other activists attacked an Arab family whose members had worked as militia members for the government, setting their homes and cars on fire. The family subsequently fled from Shaykh Maqsud. When the army moved into the district a short time later, a brief gunfight with PYD supporters ensued. On March 11, the military withdrew from Shaykh Maqsud. On March 12, the PYD removed the road blocks that the PYD and other activists had erected.

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KURDWATCH, March 14, 2012—Nechirvan Jamil Salih Ramo (b. 1993 in al‑Qamishli) was killed on February 6, 2012 in ad‑Dumayr (approximately 30 km northeast of Damascus). According to official statements, he died in the course of a military operation with the Syrian Army. Family members expressed doubt about this version of the events of his death to KurdWatch. Ramo was buried on February 8 in al‑Qamishli after a funeral procession with thousands of opposition members taking part. The mourners demanded the fall of the regime and chanted dissident slogans.

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KURDWATCH, March 13, 2012—Nationwide protests on March 9, 2012 resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators united under the slogan »We remember the Kurdish uprising of 2004« took to the streets to demand the fall of the regime. Protests also took place in al‑Qamishli, ʿAmudah, al‑Hasakah, al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), ad‑Darbasiyah, al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê) und ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî). One centralized demonstration took place in each of the cities of ad‑Darbasiyah, Raʾs al‑ʿAyn, al‑Malikiyah, al‑Qahtaniyah, al‑Maʿbada, al‑Jawadiyah, and Ayn al‑ʿArab. A total of six demonstrations took place in al‑Qamishli in the districts of al‑Hilaliyah, al‑ʿAntariyah, Qudurbak, Kurnish, and Qanat Suwais as well as north of the city center. Security forces attacked a group of demonstrators on their way to the demonstration in al‑Hilaliyah; several people were arrested. Two demonstrations took place in ʿAmudah, four in al‑Hasakah. Security forces attacked demonstrators with billy clubs and used tear gas. Several people were detained, but were released again on 10. March 10. Among those detained were Husayn Ahmad Shaykhi, Mahmud ʿAziz, and Ahmad ʿIsa. There were no demonstrations in ʿAfrin on March 9. However, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) did organize a demonstration in the district of Shaykh Maqsud in Aleppo.

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KURDWATCH, March 13, 2012—The recruit Awaz ʿAbdulkarim Muhammad (b. 1991 in Shabak) was killed in early February in Homs. The military police returned his body to relatives in al‑Qamishli on February 26, more than a week after his death. On February 27, numerous activists as well as relatives of the deceased took part in a funeral march that took place as part of his burial in Shabak (40 km east of al‑Qamishli). The mourners demanded the fall of the regime and chanted dissident slogans. According to official statements, Muhammad died during military operations by the Syrian Army. The exact circumstances of his death are thus far not known.

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KURDWATCH, March 10, 2012—On March 3, 2012, the student Jigarkhwin ʿAbdurrazzaq Mula Ahmad (b. 1985 in al‑Qamishli) disappeared in Aleppo. A few hours after he had left his apartment, security forces in plainclothes searched his house. Relatives told KurdWatch that the intelligence service had been looking for Mula Ahmad for three months. Thus his family assumes that he has been arrested. Further details are not yet known.

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KURDWATCH, March 8, 2012—On the morning of March5, 2012, members of the Military Intelligence Service and other Syrian security services stormed several homes in the majority Kurdish inhabited district of Wadi al‑Mashariʿ in Damascus. At least eleven people were arrested. The people in question are: Luqman Aiyub (member of the People’s Conference of West Kurdistan, a PYD organization), Dalil Luqman Aiyub, Haqqi Luqman Aiyub, Ahmad Khalaf, Dalil Ahmad Khalaf, Fayruschah Hajji ʿAli (member of the People's Conference of West Kurdistan), Shapal Tamr Yaʿqub, ʿAbdurrahman Khalid, Jiwan Khalid, Jigarkhwin Khalid, and Shorash Khalid. ʿAbdurrahman Khalid, Jigarkhwin Khalid, and Shorash Khalid were released the same day. The reason for the arrests is not yet known.

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KURDWATCH, March 6, 2012—Nationwide protests on March 2, 2012 resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators united under the motto »Weapons to the Free Army« took to the streets to demand the fall of the regime. Protests also took place in al‑Qamishli, ʿAmudah, al‑Hasakah, al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), al‑Darbasiyah, al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), and ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî). A total of seven demonstrations took place in al‑Qamishli in the districts of al‑Hilaliyah, al‑ʿAntariyah, Qudurbak, Kurnish, and Qanat Suwais, with two demonstrations taking place in both Kurnish and al‑Hilaliyah. Security forces attacked demonstrators in al‑Hilaliyah with billy clubs and used tear gas. There were several arrests, but as in previous weeks, those detained are said to have been quickly released. One centralized demonstration took place in each of the cities of al‑Darbasiyah, Raʾs al‑ʿAyn, al‑Malikiyah, al‑Qahtaniyah, al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê), and al‑Jawadiyah. Two separate demonstrations took place in ʿAmudah and Ayn al‑ʿArab. Three demonstrations took place in al‑Hasakah; only one demonstration by the PYD took place in ʿAfrin.

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KURDWATCH, March 4,  2012—On February 29, 2012, the Kurdish Patriotic Conference announced that additional parties had joined the alliance: ʿAbdurrahman Aluji’s Kurdish Democratic Party—Syria, the Kurdistan Union Party in Syria, the Syrian-Kurdish Democratic Reconciliation (Rêkeftin), and Faysal Yusuf’s Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party in Syria—Reform Movement, a splinter group of ʿAbdulhamid Hajji Darwish’s Progressive Party. The first two parties were previously in an alliance with the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria. With the addition of the four parties all Syrian-Kurdish parties, with the exception of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the Future Movement, are members of the Kurdish Patriotic Conference. According to information from the Kurdish Patriotic Conference, seventeen youth groups have also joined. In many cases, however, the groups involved are very small or are youth groups associated with the individual parties.

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KURDWATCH, March 1, 2012—The Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs for the Kurdistan/Iraq region announced on February 27, 2012 that more than thirty Kurdish recruits had deserted the Syrian army and fled to Iraqi-Kurdistan. No officers were among those who fled. A speaker emphasized that the refugees will not be extradited to Syria.

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KURDWATCH, February 29, 2012—On February 24, 2012, the Kurdish Democratic Union Party in Syria (Democratic Yekîtî) declared in a press release that the alleged murderers of their party member Sharzad Hadjj Rashid [further information on the case] have been identified. The secretary of the Democratic Yekîtî, Muhiyuddin Shaykh Ali, told KurdWatch that he and representatives of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which had helped with the arrest of the murderers, symbolically delivered Hasan Hamidu Muhammad Jamil (b. 1977) and Muhammad Muhammad ʿAli (b. 1978) to the father at the grave of the deceased. Subsequently the murderers, who are both Syrian Arabs from the region, were handed over to the Syrian authorities in ʿAnadan, their place of origin.
An activist from ʿAfrin described the story as »second-rate theater«. According to this informant, the PYD has become unsettled because the Free Syrian Army is also growing stronger in ʿAfrin, and, thus, it felt the need to present »murderers« in order to exonerate itself. Overall, he says that the PYD’s actions are currently more restrained than in recent weeks, and at least during the day it has refrained from patrolling the streets with weapons. According his information, the Free Syrian Army has several checkpoints between Aleppo und ʿAfrin

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KURDWATCH, February 29, 2012—Nationwide protests on February 24, 2012 resulted once again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators united under the slogan »We will fight for you, Baba ʿAmru« took to the streets to demand the fall of the regime. Protests also took place in al‑Qamishli, ʿAmudah, al‑Hasakah, al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa), al‑Darbasiyah, Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), and ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî). As in the previous weeks, five demonstrations took place in al‑Qamishli in the districts of al‑Hilaliyah, al‑ʿAntariyah, Qudurbak, Kurnish, and Qanat Suwais. One central demonstration took place in each of the cities of al‑Darbasiyah, Raʾs al‑ʿAyn, al‑Malikiyah, and al‑Jawadiyah; two separate demonstrations took place in ʿAmudah. Two demonstrations also took place in both ʿAyn al‑ʿArab and al‑Qahtaniyah; in each case, one of the demonstrations was organized by the Democratic Union Party (PYD).
In al‑Hasakah, demonstrators in a majority Arab district attempted to topple a statue of Basil al‑Assad, the late brother of Bashar al‑Assad. Security forces shot into the crowd, killing at least four Arab Syrians; several people were injured. Protest demonstrations took place in several other districts of al‑Hasakah in protest against the actions of the security forces. Three weeks after the PYD carried out armed assaults against dissident demonstrators in ʿAfrin, the only demonstration that took place there this week was held by the PYD.

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KURDWATCH, February 27, 2012—On February 4, 2012, eighty Syrian activists formed the Patriotic Movement of Change in Istanbul. Well-known lawyers, religious figures, journalists, and writers—including several Kurds—were among the founding members. The founding declaration of the Patriotic Movement of Change provides no clues as to the alliance’s position on the »Kurdish question«.

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KURDWATCH, February 27,  2012—The military court in Aleppo sentenced four supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) to lengthy prison terms pursuant to Articles 305 and 573 of the Criminal Code. On February 22, 2012, the military court in Aleppo sentenced Givara Faridun Ibrahim (b. 1986), Bangin ʿAli Shahin, and Rezan Bakr Husayn (b. 1991) each to fifteen years in prison as well as hard labor. Due to mitigating circumstances, the penalty was reduced to seven and a half years. Maryam Sabri Habash (b. 1974) was sentenced to three years and three months in prison as well as hard labor. The detainees were tortured while in investigative custody.

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KURDWATCH, February 24, 2012—Nasruddin Birhik, member of the Central Committee of ʿAbdulhakim Bashar’s Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria (el‑Partî), succumbed to his injuries on February 21, 2012. On February 13, 2012, Birhik was driving to al‑Jawadiyah alone. East of al‑Qahtaniyah, he was attacked with dumdum bullets fired from two moving vehicles. Arab farmers who observed the attack reported that the attackers’ vehicles had license plates from Latakiah. The injured Birhik was brought to the hospital in al‑Qamishli; on February 14, he was transferred to Aleppo. It was initially assumed that supporters of the government attacked Birhik after he came into conflict with them. A leading member of a Kurdish party told KurdWatch, however, that prior to the assassination attempt, Birhik had been threatened by supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD). Members of the Central Committee of ʿAbdulhakim Bashar’s el‑Partî did not wish to respond to the question of whether and by whom Birhik was threatened.

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KURDWATCH, February 23, 2012—On February 20, 2012, approximately twenty-five activists tried to hold an unauthorized rally in front of al‑Qamishli’s city hall. The police quickly broke up the event, using billy clubs and kicking demonstrators. The activist and student Iwan Muhammad al‑Tahir (b. 1987), member of the Syrian SAWA Coalition, was arrested; the criminal investigation department is currently holding him in custody.

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KURDWATCH, February 23, 2012—Supporters of the Democratic Union Party  (PYD) are apparently systematically threatening critics of the regime and political opponents. Dr. Lazgin Salih (b. 1973, married) told KurdWatch that both he and another doctor from ʿAfrin, Dr. Farzand ʿUmar, as well as the pharmacist Haschim Schaikh Nahasan were threatened with death. He attributes the threats to the fact that he had criticized the PYD on his Facebook page. For his part, Dr. ʿUmar allegedly belongs to an oppositional group called »Kurdish Spring«, and Haschim Schaikh Nahasan is said to have insulted the PYD. According to Dr. Salih, the PYD later withdrew its threats against him. Likewise threatened was Dr. Ahmad Yusif, a dentist from ʿAfrin.

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KURDWATCH, February 22, 2012—On February 15, 2012, a gunfight broke out in ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî) between supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), supposed supporters of the regime, as well as employees of the Air Force Intelligence Service. An Air Force officer is said to have been killed during the gunfight. Faruq ʿIsa (b. 1984, married, 3 children), who happened to be in the area, was also killed in the crossfire. ʿIsa was a member of the Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party in Syria. Prior to the gunfight, a conflict arose between the PYD and several Arab families who were considered loyal to the regime. PYD supporters had told these families to leave ʿAyn al‑ʿArab within five days. Following the gunfight, the families fled the city; PYD‑ supporters set fire to their homes. Thousands of activists and members of Kurdish parties took part in a funeral march that took place that same day as part of the burial of Faruq ʿIsa. ʿIsa was buried in Tarmik, approximately three kilometers south of ʿAyn al‑ʿArab.

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KURDWATCH, February 22, 2012—Nationwide protests on February 17, 2012, resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators united under the motto »Popular Resistance« took to the streets to demand the fall of the regime. Protests also took place in al‑Qamishli, ʿAmudah, al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), al‑Dschawadiyah (Çil Axa), al‑Darbasiyah, Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), and ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî). As in previous weeks, five demonstrations took place in al‑Qamishli in the districts of al‑Hilaliyah, al‑ʿAntariyah, Qudurbak, Kurnish, and Qanat Suwais. One centralized demonstration took place in each of the cities of al‑Darbasiyah, Raʾs al‑ʿAyn, al‑Qahtaniyah, and al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa); two separate demonstrations took place in ʿAmudah. Two demonstrations also took place in ʿAyn al‑ʿArab. One was organized by the Democratic Union Party  (PYD); at the second, conflicts arose between supporters of the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria and the Kurdish Patriotic Conference. In al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik) protestors from the Friday demonstrations joined together with participants in a funeral march taking place as part of the burial of Shavgar Salah ʿAli (b. 1992). The recruit was killed during combat operations on February 12 in az‑Zabadani. Participants in the funeral march reported to KurdWatch that between ten and fifteen thousand people had taken part in the demonstration. After the PYD carried out armed assaults against dissident demonstrators in ʿAfrin two weeks ago, only a PYD demonstration took place there this week.

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KURDWATCH, February 20, 2012—On December 29, 2011, Ismail Mustafa Hajji (b. 1970 in al‑Malikiyah [Derik]) was released from custody. That same day, the Criminal Court in al‑Hasakah had acquitted him on the charge of having called for an unauthorized demonstration. Police arrested Hadjji on December 25, 2011 in al‑Malikiyah on the basis of an arrest warrant issued by the Political Security Directorate. After spending one night in al‑Malikiyah, he was transferred to the Political Security Directorate in al‑Hasakah. He spent the final night before his release in the al‑Hasakah central prison. While he was in custody, Hajji was beaten by hand and insulted.

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KURDWATCH, February 20, 2012—Barzan Iskan ʿUmar (b. 1992 in al‑Malikiyah [Derik]) was killed on February 10, 2012, during a Syrian Army operation in az‑Zabadani (approximately 50 km northwest of Damascus). His body was returned to his family on February 11,  During his burial on February 12 in al‑Malikiyah, numerous activists and relatives of the deceased took part in a funeral march. The mourners demanded the fall of the regime and chanted dissident slogans. The Kurdish hymn was played along with Arab and Kurdish revolutionary songs. Until now the particular circumstances of ʿUmar’s death remain unknown.

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KURDWATCH, February 18, 2012—Nationwide demonstrations on February 10, 2012, resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators united under the slogan »Russia is killing our children« took to the streets to demand the fall of the regime. Protests also took place in al‑Qamishli, ʿAmudah, al‑Darbasiyah, Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), and ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî). As in the previous week, five demonstrations took place in al‑Qamishli - in the districts of al‑Hilaliyah, al‑ʿAntariyah, Qudurbak, Kurnish, and Qanat Suwais. Security forces in al‑Hilaliyah attacked the demonstrators with billy clubs and several people were injured. One centralized demonstration took place in al‑ al‑Darbasiyah, Raʾs al‑ʿAyn, and ʿAyn al‑ʿArab;there were three separate demonstrations in ʿAmudah. Following last week's armed assaults against demonstrators by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in ʿAfrin, there were no demonstrations by independent activists there. Instead, armed PYD supporters took to the streets. Participants in the funeral march that took place during the course of Sharzad Hajj Rashid's burial [further information on the case] on 12. February took this opportunity to stage dissident protests. Thousands of activists demanded the fall of the regime and the execution of President Bashar al‑Assad by hanging. Members of various Kurdish parties held speeches, and supporters of the PYD read a letter of sympathy from their chairman Salih Muslim Muhammad. Thus far it remains unclear who killed Hadjj Rashid; he was allegedly threatened by the PYD prior to his assassination.

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KURDWATCH, February 16, 2012—On February 12, 2012, high-ranking members of the Kurdish Patriotic Conference and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) signed an agreement on cooperation intended to prevent escalations, especially in public areas. Ismaʿil Hami, Secretary of the Kurdish Union Party in Syria (Yekîtî), explained to KurdWatch that the agreement stipulates that the signatories will tolerate dissenting opinions from the other side. Moreover, they will see to it that disagreements do not develop into volatile arguments. It was decided local committees comprised of supporters from both camps would be formed to intervene quickly should problems arise.

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KURDWATCH, February 14, 2012—On February 9, 2012, the doctor Sharzad Hajj Rashid (b. 1987), a member of the Aleppo Circle of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party in Syria (Democratic Yekîtî)—the party’s highest body after the Central Committee—was abducted by four armed men shortly after leaving his workplace at the al‑ʾAmal-Hospital in Aleppo. According to statements made by a female colleague who was in the car with Hajj Rashid, the attackers pursued them to a dead end, where they then threw the woman out of the car and abducted Hajj Rashid in his own vehicle.
On February 10 at around 3 o’clock in the morning police told the relatives of the abductee that Hajj Rashid’s body had been found on the outskirts of the city on the way to ʿAfrin. Hajj Rashid’s body exhibited knife wounds and other signs of torture; death was the result of a gunshot wound to the stomach. Hajj Rashid’s car remained missing. Thus far it is unclear who is responsible for the murder.

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KURDWATCH, February 12, 2012—On February 6, 2012, five people were abducted while illegally attempting to cross the Iraqi-Syrian border. The people in question are Ibrahim Biro (member of the politburo of the Kurdish Union Party in Syria [Yekîtî] and member of the Executive Committee of the Kurdish Patriotic Conference), Muhammad Yusuf (member of the Executive Committee of the Kurdish Patriotic Conference), Salih Sufi (member of the politburo of the Syrian-Kurdish Democratic Reconciliation [Rêkeftin], a splinter party of the Democratic Union Party [PYD]), as well as their two smugglers. Biro and Yusuf had taken part in the Conference of Syrian Kurds living abroad, which was held in Erbil (Kurdistan/Iraq) on January 28 and 29.
A high-ranking member of the Kurdish Union Party in Syria (Yekîtî) told KurdWatch that shortly after the abduction one of the smugglers called an acquaintance and told him that the group had been abducted by supporters of the PKK/PYD. Leading figures in the Kurdish Patriotic Conference and the Yekîtî subsequently demanded that the PYD release the abductees. The PYD denied any responsibility. A few hours later the abductees were handed over to border officials who then transferred them to members of the Military Intelligence Service.

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KURDWATCH, February 10, 2012—On February 6, 2012, around seventy activists took part in a half-hour long rally in front of the Criminal Court in al-Hasakah. Roadblocks resulted in many activists not reaching the meeting place. Those gathered demanded the release of the writer Husayn ʿIso [further information on the case] and the activist Shapal Ibrahim [further information on the case]. A demonstrator told KurdWatch that supporters of the regime had photographed the rally to intimidate the participants. 

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KURDWATCH, February 9, 2012—On January 30, 2012, Nihru Sharif Shaykhi (b. 1984) was released from custody. After his arrest on January 3, 2012, he was transferred to the Political Security Directorate’s al‑Faihaʾ remand prison in Damascus. The charge raised against him was dropped due to Amnesty Decree 10, dated January 15, 2012. [Further information on the case]

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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.

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KURDWATCH, February 8, 2012—On February 2, 2012, Shindar Salah Shakir (b. 1992 in al-Qamishli) was killed during his military service in az-Zabadani (about 50 km northeast of Damascus). Shakir had been drafted into military service nearly a year ago; he was a recruit in the 10th division garrisoned near Qatna. On February 4, military police in al-Qamishli returned his body to his family. On February 5, he was buried in al-Latifiyah near al-Qamishli. Thousands of activists as well as relatives of the deceased took part in the funeral march. Thus far the specific circumstances of his death remain unknown.

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KURDWATCH, February 6, 2012—Aras Sabri Shakir (b. 1990 in Maʿshuq near al-Malikiyah) died on January 31, 2012 while doing his military service in Homs. The military police returned his body to the family in al-Qamishli on February 2. On February 3, he was buried in Maʿshuq as part of a funeral march in which thousands of activists as well as relatives of the deceased took part.
According to official statements, Aras Sabri Shakir died as a result of the injuries he suffered during skirmishes in Homs. However, eyewitnesses have reported to the family that he had refused to shoot at civilians. A relative told KurdWatch that following his refusal, his superior ordered that he be shot. According to additional sources, the wounded cried for help for several hours before succumbing to his injuries.

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KURDWATCH, February 5, 2012—On January 29, 2012, Khalid Oso (b. 1984) was arrested by members of the Political Security Directorate at his workplace in al-Darbasiyah. The reason for his arrest is not yet known.

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KURDWATCH, February 2, 2012—On January 31, 2012, the bar association’s Court of Professional Conduct in al-Hasakah acquitted the two attorneys Mustafa Khidr Oso und Faisal Badr. [Further information on the case]

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KURDWATCH, February 1, 2012—From January 28 to 29, 2012, the Erbil conference of Syrian Kurds abroad took place in Erbil (Kurdistan/Iraq). The event was organized and financed by the Office of the President of the region Kurdistan/Iraq under the leadership of President Masʿud Barzani. Representatives from the parties of the Kurdish Patriotic Conference in Syria as well as people they selected from abroad took part. In a closing statement, the participants supported the resolutions made by the Kurdish Patriotic Conference in Syria [further information on the resolutions] and condemned the Syrian government’s violence against the general public.

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KURDWATCH, January 29, 2012—On September 3, 2011, the activist and writer Husayn ʿIso was arrested in al-Hasakah because of his dissident activities. Iso, who is currently being held in al-Qamishli, has a heart condition. His health has deteriorated considerably in recent months.

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KURDWATCH, January 26, 2012—On January 19, 2012, ʿAbdulmajid Tamr was released from custody in Aleppo based on Amnesty Decree No. 10, dated January 15, 2012. Employees of the Political Security Directorate arrested the activist on May 31, 2011 in al-Qamishli and transferred him to the Political Security Directorate in al-Hasakah. During interrogations, Tamr’s eyes and hands were bound; he was tortured with electric billy clubs as well as forced into a tire and beaten (Dulab method). Additionally, he was beaten on the soles of his feet (Falaqa method, bastinado). Tamr was forced to provide his access data for Facebook and Skype as well as the passwords to his e-mail accounts. Fifteen days later, he was brought to the Political Security Directorate in Damascus and also interrogated. Another twenty-five days later, he and other inmates were brought to Aleppo. There, the Military Prosecution raised charges pursuant to Article 285 of the Criminal Code. [Further information on the case]

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KURDWATCH, January 25, 2012—On January 17, 2012, Ahmad ʿAbdullah Badro’s photo shop in al-Qamishli was burned down. It is presumed that members or sympathizers of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) are responsible for the act. Badro and two of his brothers were murdered by the PYD on January 10, 2012. [Further information on the case

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KURDWATCH, January 25, 2012—Members of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the Syrian branch of the PKK, have threatened to kill the activist Saʿdun Sino. During the Friday demonstration on January 20, 2012, Sino, who is among the most active dissidents in al-Darbasiyah and who played a leading role in organizing the demonstrations there, had openly condemned the killing of Ahmad ʿAbdullah Badro, Nidal ʿAbdullah Badro, and ʿAmar ʿAbdullah Badro by the PYD [further information on the case]. After leading figures from al-Darbsiyah advocated for Sino, and after he apologized to the PYD for his statements, PYD functionaries stated that they would not go ahead with the killing they had been ordered to carry out.

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KURDWATCH, January 24, 2012—Nationwide protests on January 20, 2012 once again resulted in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators united under the slogan »The Prisoners of the Revolution« took to the streets to demand the fall of the regime. Protests also took place in al‑Qamishli, ʿAmudah, Darbasiyah, ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik), and Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê). In al-Qamishli demonstrations again took place in several districts; the Kurdish Patriotic Conference yet again organized its own rally. As in previous weeks, three separate demonstrations took place in ʿAmudah.

The demonstration in al-Qamishli:

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KURDWATCH, January 22, 2012—On January 14, 2012, the engineer Saʿid Fahd Deriki (b. 1970, married, three children) was arrested at his workplace for Syrian state television in Damascus. Deriki is accused of having secretly filmed a pro-Assad demonstration to show that there were far fewer participants than authorities had previously claimed.

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KURDWATCH, January 21, 2012—Fahima Salih Usi, alias Harvin Usi, an activist for the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria, has announced her resignation from the party. In justifying this step, she cited the change in course that her party has taken following the assassination of party speaker Mishʿal at-Tammu and explained that she wants to be more active »on the ground« again.

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KURDWATCH, January 19, 2012—Rezan Bahri Shaykhmus (b. 1962, married, four children) is the chairman of the Kurdish Future Movement's Office of General Communications. The engineer lives in Syria. In a conversation with KurdWatch, Shaykhmus speaks about the Future Movement's political work following the death of its speaker Mishʿal at-Tammu. [Read the interview]

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KURDWATCH, January 18, 2012—On January 15, 2012, the Kurdish Patriotic Conference decided that its members should suspend their affiliation with the Syrian oppositional coalitions (Syrian National Council, National Union of the Forces for Democratic Change, and Damascus Declaration) until further notice. The goal is for the Kurdish parties to negotiate with the Syrian opposition as a united block.

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KURDWATCH, January 18, 2012—On January 15, 2012, Majdal ʿAbdulfatah ʿUji was released from custody in al-Qamishli. Charges pursuant to Article 285 had been raised against the engineer, who had been in custody since August 26, 2011. ʿUji benefited from Amnesty Decree No. 10, dated January 15, 2012. [Further information on the case]

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KURDWATCH, January 18, 2012—Nationwide protests on January 13, 2012 resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators united under the slogan »Support for the Free Army« took to the streets to demand the fall of the regime. Protests also took place in al-Qamishli, ʿAmudah, Darbasiyah, ʿAyn al-ʿArab (Kobanî), al-Malikiyah (Dêrik), and Raʾs al-ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê). In al-Qamishli, several demonstrations took place in different districts, including a rally organized by the Kurdish Patriotic Conference. In the district of al-ʿAntariya, supporters of the regime shot over the heads of the demonstrators, who answered by throwing stones. Supporters of the regime also disrupted the demonstration in Raʾs al ʿAyn. As in previous weeks, three separate demonstrations took place in ʿAmudah. The Democratic Union Party (PYD) demonstrated under the slogan »A worthy life«.

The demonstration in al-Qamishli:

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KURDWATCH, January 17, 2012—With Decree Number 10, dated January 15, 2012, President Bashar al Assad granted amnesty to all those who, since March 15, 2011, have been charged with crimes or offenses pursuant to Articles 285, 286, 287, 291, 294, 307, 308, 327, and 328 of the Criminal Code. All those who were charged with offenses pursuant to Articles 335 to 339 of the Criminal Code also received amnesty – these articles apply to the right to demonstrate, which was newly regulated by Presidential Decree No. 54, dated April 21, 2011. People who are liable to prosecution for illegal possession of weapons as well as all those who have deserted will also receive amnesty. Anyone who has not yet been arrested will benefit from this amnesty if he turns himself in by January 31, 2012.

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KURDWATCH, January 15, 2012—On January 11, 2012, Arab League observers visited several Kurdish cities. In al-Qamishli, Syrian security forces escorted them to a pro-Assad demonstration organized by the regime and prevented them from observing the dissident protests. In ʿAmudah, Syrian security forces also accompanied the observers. However, unlike in al-Qamishli in ʿAmudah the observer contingent was received by a large number of dissident demonstrators who demanded the overthrow of the president.

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KURDWATCH, January 11, 2012—Renas Jamil Shaykhi, a philosophy student at the University of Aleppo, and Raman Ismaʿil Ramo, a chemistry student at the University of Dayr az-Zaur, were arrested on January 4, 2012 during a dissident demonstration in the village of Mufti in al-Hasakah.

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KURDWATCH, January 9, 2012—Nationwide protests on January 6, 2012 resulted again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators united under the motto »If you help Allah[´s cause], He will help you« took to the streets to demand the fall of the regime. Protests also took place in al‑Qamishli, ʿAmudah, Darbasiyah, ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), and Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê). Supporters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) unsuccessfully attempted to disrupt a demonstration in al-Qamishli by holding up PKK flags and pictures of Abdullah Ocalan. As in previous weeks, three separate demonstrations took place in ʿAmudah. In al-Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî) security forces prevented a demonstration from happening.

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KURDWATCH, January 8, 2012—The political activist ʿAbdulhamid Hasan Biro was arrested in Aleppo on January 3, 2012 due to his participation in dissident demonstrations.

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KURDWATCH, January 7, 2011—On December 22, 2011, several Kurdish parties founded the Union of Kurdish Democratic Forces in Syria. The Kurdish Future Movement in Syria, ʿAbdurrahman Aluji´s Kurdish Democratic Party — Syria and the Kurdistan Union Party in Syria belong to this new coalition.
The new coalition has formulated the following positions:
1. The fall of the regime and all of its symbols and structures, the continuation of the peaceful revolution in all parts of Syria, the continuation of the same in the Kurdish regions and the intensification of calls for strikes and civil disobedience in all Kurdish regions;
2. Consolidation of the efforts of the rebelling youth in the Kurdish regions, coordination among the youth as well between the youth and other players in the Syrian revolution;
3. In cooperation with all appropriate authorities, the protection of civilians should be safeguarded, all Arab and international efforts in this regard should be supported and implementation by international organizations should be assured as quickly as possible;
4. Dialogue with all Kurdish political powers outside of the coalition, coordination of the efforts to ensure the unity of the Kurds;
5. Communication with all players in the Syrian opposition, both inside the country and abroad, as well as with the Syrian National Council and Syrian-patriotic figures in particular, in order to make cooperation, understanding, and joint action possible and thus to achieve together the goals of the revolution;
6. The coalition states that those people who have opposed the authoritarian regime and sacrificed themselves in the fight against it as well as those who were tortured receive legitimacy;
7. The coalition makes clear that the patriotic decisions of the Syrian Kurds will be made independently and that at the same time the national Kurdish interests must be protected;
8. The introduction of a parliamentary system and a democratizing of daily life on the basis of diversity, the peaceful transfer of power, the rule of law, the division of powers and the protection of the rights and particular characteristics of all parts of Syrian society;
9. Constitutional recognition that Syria is a civil state with various religions, religious denominations, and ethnicities (Arabs, Kurds, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Arameans, Armenians, Chechens, Circassians, Turkmen, and Yazidi) so that the political and cultural rights of all are guaranteed;
10. Constitutional recognition of the national rights of the Kurdish people in Syria within the framework of a democratic and patriotic consensus and on the basis of state equality of the Kurds as a main ethnicity alongside an Arab ethnicity; recognition that the Kurdish question is a question of a people that lives of its own free will on its historic territory. The Kurdish question must be solved democratically and justly, all laws, decrees, and racist projects against the Kurdish people, as, for example, the Arab Belt, the special census, and the policies of Arabization and the neglect of the Kurdish regions as well as their negative consequences must be repealed, and the victims must be compensated for;
11. The rights of all citizens to free speech and free assembly, the exercise of their personal freedoms and [religious] rituals, and their participation in all public affairs must be guaranteed; furthermore the human dignity of all citizens on the basis of the consolidation of civic right must be respected;
12. The rejection of violence and the encouragement of forgiveness, reconciliation, and tolerance among all citizens, as well as respect for all international treaties and conventions, as well as for human rights;
13. Elimination of all forms of totalitarian, authoritarian, and exclusionary thoughts and practices, regardless of pretense; Nonviolence in the context of political activities and the guarantee of transparency in political relationships; neutralization of the military and the security authorities, so that they are neither politically active nor can they stand for election or be able to vote;
14. The decentralization of the state in accordance with the demands of progress and regional development; the assurance of equal opportunities and the just division of national wealth, as well as an increase in the standards of living for all Syrian citizens; the creation of new administrative divisions that take the interests of the citizens of each region into account; determination of a portion of the income of the individual provinces to be used for infrastructure and development projects in these provinces;
15. The new Syrian state guarantees women all of their rights, including the right to actively participate in political life, as well as in all other areas; young people and their issues must receive serious attention and their inclusion in civil, cultural, social, economic, and political areas of society must also be guaranteed;
16. The new Syrian state is a civilized, civil state and a true factor of stability in the Arab, regional, and international context;
17. The future of the occupied Syrian regions must be determined on the basis of the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and with international legitimacy;
18. In the transition period following the fall of the regime the Union of Kurdish Democratic Forces in Syria, together with the Syrian National Council, will ensure the security in the Kurdish regions through the establishment of local councils; the Union of Kurdish Democratic Forces in Syria and the Syrian National Council will take part in the transitional government in order to administer the affairs of the country;
19. The Union calls for a patriotic conference under the slogan of democratic change, in order to develop a program for the period of transition together with all representatives of Syrian society who did not commit crimes against the people and did not enrich themselves at the expense of the state;
20. The transitional government will organize free elections for a founding assembly under international supervision within a period of no more than one year; the founding assembly will have the task of developing a new constitution, which will be presented to the people for a vote in a general referendum;
21. According to the new constitution, parliamentary elections should take place within a period of six months and no longer.

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KURDWATCH, January 5, 2012—Nihru Sharif Shaykhi (b. 1984, married, one child) was arrested in Bab al-Hawa at the Syrian-Turkish border on January 3, 2012 while attempting to leave Syria. He was taken by the police to the Political Security Directorate in Damascus. Shaykhi is from al-Darbasiyah, where he took part in dissident demonstrations.

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KURDWATCH, January 4, 2012—Nationwide protests on December 30, 2011, again resulted in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators united under the slogan »March to the sites of freedom« took to the streets to demand the fall of the regime. Protests also took place in al-Qamishli, ʿAmudah, Darbasiyah, al-Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî), al-Malikiyah (Dêrik), ʿAyn al-ʿArab (Kobanî), and Raʾs al-ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê). In al-Qamishli police tried to prevent residents from the eastern parts of the city from taking part in the demonstrations. They used tear gas and shot at the demonstrators — three people were injured. As in previous weeks, three separate demonstrations took place in ʿAmudah.

The demonstration in al-Qamishli:

http://www.youtube.com/v/57yCtyhCRk0?version=3&hl=de_DE

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KURDWATCH, January 1, 2012—On December 26, 2011, Sipan Shaykhmus Shuwaysh (b. 1994) was arrested at the Damascus airport upon his arrival from al-Qamishli. Shuwaish was on his way to the Czech embassy in Damascus for a student visa. Nothing is known yet about the reasons for his arrest.

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KURDWATCH, January 1, 2012—On December 28, 2011, the bar association´s Court of Professional Conduct in al-Hasakah postponed the hearing against the attorneys Mustafa Khidr Oso and Faysal Badr until January 31, 2012. [Further information on the case]

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