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KurdWatch, February 5, 2016—On January 26, 2016, the chairman of the Kurdish National Council »illegally« travelled from Syria to Iraqi‑Kurdistan after the Democratic Union Party (PYD) had denied him from leaving the country. Until recently members of the Kurdish National Council in Syria could cross the border into Iraqi‑Kurdistan at the Faysh Khabur border crossing controlled by the PYD without first getting permission by the PYD. They did however have to register at the border. This regulation was abolished.  Ibrahim Biro is on his way to the political talks in Europe. 

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KurdWatch, February 3, 2016—On January 27, 2016, the Syrian air force bombed the Aleppo neighborhood Sheikh Maqsud, which is controlled by the People’s Defense Units (YPG) of the Democratic Union Party (PYD). At least four civilians were killed and several more injured. Additionally, a number of houses were badly damaged in the attack. The background to the attack is unclear. According to statements of the YPG, their fighters killed two Syrian soldiers east of Sheikh Maqsud on January 29 in an act of retaliation.

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KurdWatch, February 3, 2016—On January 24, 2016, there were skirmishes in al‑Hasakah between the People’s Defense Units (YPG) of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the National Defense Army, loyal to the government. Fighters from the National Defense Army had attempted to capture the predominantly Arab quarter an‑Nashwa al‑Gharbiya. In August 2015, the YPG had driven out the Islamic Staat (IS) from the city [further information]. Since then it controls a number of Arab quarters, including an‑Nashwa al‑Gharbiya. The fighting lasted around two hours. There is no available information on any dead or injured.

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KurdWatch, February 2, 2016—On January 28, 2016, Islamic State (IS) fighters attacked positions of the People’s Defense Units (YPG) of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) east of ʿAyn ʿIsa, a city thirty-five kilometers south of Tell Abyad (Girê Sipî). This was reported by the PYD-affiliated news agency Hawar (ANHA). Information about possible victims was not available.

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KurdWatch, February 2, 2016—According to the People’s Defense Units (YPG) of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), they killed two Islamic State (IS) fighters on January 15, 2016 south of the city of al‑Hasakah as the suicide bombers tried to detonate themselves close to a YPG checkpoint.

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KurdWatch, January 29, 2016—On January 21, 2016, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) summoned all storeowners in al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik) to close their businesses in order to protest against the Kurdish politics of the Turkish government in Turkey. Even those shop owners who do not sympathize with the PYD complied with the demand in fear of existentially threatening reprisals.

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KurdWatch, January 29, 2016—On January 24, 2016, a bomb attached to a parked bicycle detonated in the city center of al‑Qamishli. Three people were killed and five more were injured. The Islamist State (IS) is supposedly responsible for the attack. This was reported on the IS-affiliated Facebook site Aʿmaq. However, in a statement the Asayiş, the security service of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), held the regime-loyal National Defense Army responsible for this attack as well as for the attacks on December 30, 2015 [further information]. These accusations were not given any further explanations.

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KurdWatch, January 27, 2016—The independent Arab daily paper al‑Quds al‑ʿArabi reported that a meeting took place on January 16, 2016 between the Syrian interior minister, Muhammad Ibrahim ash‑Shaʿar, and delegates of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the Movement for a Democratic Society (TEV‑DEM) as well as the People’s Defense Units (YPG) of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in al‑Qamishli. According to the newspaper report, the YPG press officer, Redur Khalil, as well as the co-chairperson of TEV‑DEM, Aldar Khalil, were present at the meeting. Allegedly, they discussed the security situation in al‑Hasakah province as well as a possible PYD representation in the upcoming negotiations between the regime and the opposition in Geneva. 

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KurdWatch, January 27, 2016—On January 15, 2016, members of the Kurdish National Council started collecting signatures for a petition to demand the treatment of the »Kurdish quesion« in the negotiations between the Syrian opposition and the Syrian regime in Geneva. The list is to be submitted to the general secretary of the United Nations, Ban Ki‑moon. The Democratic Union Party (PYD) tried to prevent the collection of signatures. Several lists were stolen and at least twelve activists collecting signatures in ʿAfrin were detained for hours by the Asayiş, the PYD's security service. According to the Kurdish National Council, up to now 625,400 signatures have been collected.

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KurdWatch, January 26, 2016—On January 7, 2016, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), together with two other parties, announced that they had frozen their membership in the National Union of the Forces for Democratic Change. The decision was based on the nationalist intolerance of executive committee members, the establishment of Union offices abroad without informing the PYD, the signing of a treaty with the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, although the Coalition rejects the PYD's administration of the Kurdish regions, as well as the non-participation of the three parties at the opposition conference in Riyadh [further information]. In addition, and without mention of any specific details, the executive committee was accused of having accepted the listing of the PYD’s People’s Defense Units (YPG) as a terrorist organization.

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KurdWatch, January 25, 2016—On January 7, 2016, unknown persons broke into the office of the Kurdish Unity Party in Syria (Yekîtî) in al‑Qamishli and stole files, data storage devices and photos with which to identify party members. In contrast, electronic devices and other valuable objects were not taken.

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