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Erbil: Alleged massacres of Kurds are being investigated

KURDWATCH, August 25, 2013—In early August 2013 the president of Iraqi-Kurdistan, Masʿud Barzani, proposed the establishment of a commission to investigate the alleged massacres of Kurdish civilians in Syria's Kurdish regions in late June to early August 2013. An Iranian news network reported that Islamist fighters near Tall Abyad had allegedly killed four hundred fifty Kurdish civilians. These numbers were echoed by the Russian foreign minister. There was also talk of massacres in the villages of Tall Hasil and Tall ʿAran [further information]. In contrast, independent activists have reported to KurdWatch that there is no targeted campaign to annihilate the Kurds, but rather only the conflicts between the Democratic Union Party's (PYD) People's Defense Units (YPG) and Islamist units. Civilians are also reportedly killed in these conflicts, but in far smaller numbers than assumed. The PYD initially rejected the establishment of an investigative commission with the explanation this would only serve »the enemies of the Kurds«. Ultimately an eight-member investigative team passed through the Faysh Khabur border crossing on August 19. The team includes a representative from the PKK headquarters in Iraqi-Kurdistan, one Kurd from both Turkish- and Iranian-Kurdistan, and one member each from the Iraqi-Kurdish Kurdistan Islamic Union, Masʿud Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Masʿud Barzani's presidential office, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), and ʿAbdulhakim Bashar's Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria(el‑Partî).

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