KURDWATCH, May 28, 2015—On May 24, 2015, fighters for the oppositional Nuruddin-az‑Zanki battalion hijacked a bus with around forty Kurds on board near the city of Binnish, approximately eight kilometers northeast of Idlib. The Kurds were returning from Damascus to ʿAfrin. The hijackers demanded the release of an unspecified prisoner of the Democratic Union Party (PYD). With the exception of three female passengers and the driver, those kidnapped were released the following day.
KURDWATCH, May 27, 2015—On May 19, 2015, the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG) expelled Islamic State (IS) fighters from several villages that are located approximately five kilometers south of Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê). The villages in question are Umm al‑Masamir Arab, Umm al‑Masamir Kurd, Umm al‑Masamir Gharbi, Hajji Qadri, Huwayj, and Tall Hamamah.
KURDWATCH, May 27, 2015—On May 23, 2015, the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG) ended the curfew it imposed on several districts in al‑Hasakah on May 7, 2015 [further information]. This was the longest curfew imposed by the YPG to date.
KURDWATCH, May 25, 2015—On May 20, 2015, the communal administration of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) requested in writing that all shop owners in al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê) replace their shop signs at their own expense. The new signs must be trilingual—Kurdish Arabic, and Aramaic.
KURDWATCH, May 24, 2015—For some time, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has been conducting regular political training for young Kurds in numerous cities in the predominantly Kurdish settled areas of Turkey. In private apartments, groups of up to thirty people receive one to two weeks of instruction. Outside contacts are strictly forbidden. Upon completion of the training, participants are asked to decide whether they want to do political work in Turkey or fight in Syria. As an activist told KurdWatch, »Many decide to fight in Syria«.
KURDWATCH, May 22, 2015—On May 17 and 18 2015, fighters for the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG) established a second front against Islamic State (IS) positions ten kilometers southwest of Tall Tamr. According to the YPG, by May 21, 2015, the IS had been expelled from twenty villages, including several Christian villages. The YPG’s advance was accompanied by air attacks by the US‑led alliance.
KURDWATCH, May 22, 2015—On May 20, 2015, the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG) captured the Jabal ʿAbdulʿaziz (Çiyayê Kezwan), approximately thirty-five kilometers southeast of the city of al‑Hasakah, and expelled all Islamic State (IS) fighters. The Jabal ʿAbdulʿaziz is an extension of the Jabal Sinjar in Iraq. Along with some Kurds and Christians, the majority of the inhabitants of the captured regions are members of Arab tribes.
KURDWATCH, May 22, 2015—On May 15, 2015, employees of the Asayiş, the security service of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), recruited numerous young men against their will at a weekly market and at a cattle market in ad‑Darbasiyah. The exact numbers are not available.
KURDWATCH, May 22, 2015—On May 16, 2015, Dijlah Muhammad, the deputy chairman of the defense committee for the transitional administration of the canton of ʿAfrin, which was appointed by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), stated in an interview with the PYD‑affiliated news agency ANHA that on May 7 2015 the canton’s legislative council put forth a new law on compulsory military service. The content is comparable to the law published on July 13, 2014 in the canton of Jazirah [further information]. In accordance with the law, young men in the canton of ʿAfrin between the ages of eighteen and thirty will also soon be forced to complete six months of military service for the PYD’s People’s Defense Units (YPG).
KURDWATCH, May 20, 2015—On May 9, 2015, employees of the Asayiş, the security service of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), kidnapped Nazir Mustafa at the Syrian-Iraqi border. Mustafa, who is a member of the local committee of the Kurdistan Democratic Party – Syria (PDK‑S) in al‑Malikiyah, had tried to pass through the Faysh Khabur border crossing into Iraqi-Kurdistan. He was released three days later.