Newsletter - August 08, 2014

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ʿAyn al‑ʿArab: Islamists release eight more students

KURDWATCH, August 8, 2014—On August 4, 2014, fighters for the Islamic State released eight more of the students who were kidnapped on May 29, 2014 [further information]. They were apparently released for health reasons.

ʿAyn al‑ʿArab: PYD kidnaps fifteen members of the PDK‑S

KURDWATCH, August 7, 2014—On August 4, 2014, fighters for the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG) stormed the village of Kayfun, fifteen kilometers south of ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), with approximately fifteen vehicles. Members of the Kurdistan Democratic Party – Syria (PDK‑S) had organized a political seminar there. Those present at the seminar were brutally beaten. Fifteen participants were kidnapped and Kurdish flags and banners were confiscated and burned. A few hours later, thirteen people were released. Those released reported that they had been beaten again while being detained. The two PDK‑S-members Muslim Muhammad and ʿUthman Zaytu are still being held.

ʿAyn al‑ʿArab: At least fifteen YPG‑fighters killed

KURDWATCH, August 7, 2014—On July 29 and July 30, 2014, heavily armed fighting again broke out thirty-five kilometers west of ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), between fighters for the Islamic State and the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG). At least fifteen YPG fighters subsequently received an official burial.

Al-Hasakah: Heavy fighting around al‑Hasakah

KURDWATCH, August 7, 2014—On July 27, 2014, after three days of heavy fighting ten kilometers south of the city of al‑Hasakah, fighters for the Islamic State captured an important military base that belongs to the Syrian regime near the Tall adh‑Dhahab hill. The same day a meeting took place between representatives of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the regime. In the days that followed, dozens of vehicles belonging to the PYD’s People’s Defense Units arrived in al‑Hasakah. Since then the YPG has shown a strong presence in all districts, including Arab districts. Reports that the PYD has complete control of the city of al‑Hasakah cannot be confirmed. The regime continues to control all the important state agencies as well as the military and intelligence service infrastructure. Several civilians were killed when the Islamic State bombarded the city with surface-to-surface missiles.

ʿAyn Diwar: PYD kidnaps activist

KURDWATCH, August 5, 2014—On July 26, 2014, employees of the Asayiş, the security service of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), kidnapped Matin Sufi (b. 1993 in al‑Malikiyah [Dêrik]), from Turkey, when he tried to avoid PYD checkpoints while crossing the border near ʿAyn Diwar. Sufi was released on July 27.

ʿAmudah: Ban on alcohol sales during the Night of Decree

KURDWATCH, August 4, 2014—On July 23, 2014, Muhammad al‑Qadiri, chairman of the Committee for Religious Affairs for the transitional administration of the canton of Jazirah, appointed by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), delivered a decision, according to which all restaurants and shops that sell alcohol must remain closed on 24. July 2014, the so-called Laylat al‑Qadr (»Night of Decree«). Laylat al‑Qadr refers to the night in the fasting month of Ramadan in which the Quran is said to have been revealed for the first time. Despite the decision, alcohol was served on July 24. There have been no known consequences.

Al-Hasakah: Prisoner released after serving eighteen years

KURDWATCH, August 3, 2014—On June 24, 2014, Salih ʿAbdu at‑Tammu (b. 1960 in al‑Hasakah) was released from the central prison in al‑Hasakah. At‑Tammu was arrested on May 17, 1996 and later sentenced to twenty-one years in prison pursuant to Article 306 of the Criminal Code. On June 1, 2011, he was transferred from the Saydnayah prison, approximately thirty kilometers north of Damascus, to ar‑Raqqah, and on July 1, 2011, he was transferred to al‑Hasakah. His early release is based on a presidential amnesty dated from June 9, 2014.

ʿAmudah: Governors announce amnesty for prisoners

KURDWATCH, August 2, 2014—On July 24, 2014, both governors of the canton of Jazirah, which was established by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), enacted a decree, according to which all people imprisoned before July 24, 2014 are to be released. Prisoners charged with terrorism, trafficking of women, murdering women, drug trafficking, theft of and trafficking in antiquities, or the misappropriation of public funds are excluded.

ʿAyn al-ʿArab: PYD detains relatives of kidnapped students

KURDWATCH, August 2, 2014—On July 16, 2014, two dozen relatives of the students kidnapped by the Islamic State [further information] held a rally in front of a building that belongs to the Asayiş, the security service of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), in ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî). They accused the PYD of responsibility for the failure to make an exchange for the kidnapped students. The Asayiş used force to break up the rally and brought six demonstrators under its control. Those in question are Jalal Muhammad Salih, Mustafa Muhammad, Muhammad Haji ʿAbdurrazzaq, Khalid Muhammad, Khalid ʿIsa Tirko, and Sadruddin Kino. All six were released on a bail of 25,000 Syrian Liras on July 28.

ʿAyn al-ʿArab: Demonstration against Islamic State

KURDWATCH, August 1, 2014—On July 8, 2014, two dozen attorneys in ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî) demonstrated against attacks by the Islamic State on ʿAyn al‑ʿArab. The rally was led by Anwar Muslim, attorney and chairman of the local administration of the canton of Kobanî, which was appointed by the Democratic Union Party (PYD). Those gathered accused the Syrian National Council and the National Coalition of supporting the Islamic State. A few days later, the National Coalition condemned the attacks on ʿAyn al‑ʿArab.

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