Newsletter - April 30, 2015

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Tall-Tamr: Founder of the Khabur Guards fatally shot

KURDWATCH, April 28, 2015—On April 22, 2015, David Jando, founder of the Assyrian Khabur Guards, was fatally shot at a checkpoint about sixty kilometers south of ad-Darbasiyah on the highway between Tall Tamr and ad-Darbasiyah. His companion, Iliyas Nasir, a leading member of the same organization, was injured. It is not yet clear who shot at Jando and Nasir. The highway is controlled by the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG), yet, a member of the Assyrian Military Council in Aleppo told KurdWatch that representatives of the Syrian regime were responsible for the attack.

Al-Qamishli: PYD detains suspect for two months

KURDWATCH, April 28, 2015—On April 22,2015, the Asayiş, the security service of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), released thirty-two-year-old Adil Muhammad Asʿad (married, one child) from prison. Asʿad was kidnapped on February 23, 2015 in al‑Qamishli after the PYD found several radio devices in his possession. During his interrogation, he was suspected of having planned attacks.

ʿAfrin: PYD releases PDK‑S-members after twenty months

KURDWATCH, April 27, 2015—On April 20, 2015, the Asayiş, the security service of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), released Shukri Bakr and Muhammad Haji, both members of the Kurdistan Democratic Party – Syria (PDK‑S), in ʿAfrin. Haji and Bakr were kidnapped in Aleppo by employees of the Asayiş on September 20, 2013 and October 10, 2013 respectively. They were initially held in a PYD prison in the Shaykh Maqsud district of Aleppo and subsequently in a PYD prison in ʿAfrin. ʿAbdurrahman Apo, a member of the PDK‑S’s central committee, told KurdWatch that both kidnapped victims were brutally tortured by the PYD.

Al-Qamishli: College Dean critical of PYD kidnapped

KURDWATCH, April 25, 2015—On April 15, 2015, Farid Saʿdun, dean of the College of Humanities at Euphrates University in al‑Hasakah, was kidnapped by unknown persons in al‑Qamishli and turned over to the Syrian regime’s security forces. An eyewitness reported that the kidnappers spoke Kurdish. Saʿdun was released a day later. According to information obtained by KurdWatch, however, the stipulation was made that he must again report to the Syrian regime’s security forces in al‑Hasakah. A nephew of the kidnap victim told KurdWatch: »In an interview Rudaw‑TV about a week ago, my uncle reported on the situation in the province [al‑Hasakah] and on emigration due to the PYD. That’s probably why he was kidnapped.«


ʿAfrin: Kurdish Front celebrates completion of training with military parade

KURDWATCH, April 23, 2015—On April 17, 2015, the Kurdish Front (formerly Kurdish Front Brigade) [further information] celebrated the completion of training for thirty new recruits with a two hour military parade at a military camp on the outskirts ʿAfrin. In recent years, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) has banned or broken up all military units of other Kurdish parties as well as of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in the territories under its control; however, it tolerates the activities of the Kurdish Front, which is seen as having close ties to the PYD.

ʿAfrin: Under-age activist released by the PYD after a year

KURDWATCH, April 23, 2015—On April 14, 2015, the Asayiş, the security service of the Democratic Union (PYD), released Ahmad Muhammad ʿAmo (b. 2000 in ʿAfrin) in ʿAfrin. ʿAmo was kidnapped a year ago. His father told KurdWatch: »They only admitted to the kidnapping six months later. They accused my son of being a member of a Free Syrian Army unit. But that isn’t true. The real reason for his kidnapping was his participation in dissident demonstrations.«

Al-Malikiyah: PYD recruits numerous refugees directly at the Iraqi-Syrian border

KURDWATCH, April 22, 2015—On April 10, 2015, employees of the Asayiş, the security service of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), forcibly recruited a number of refugees in the village of Qalʿat al‑Hisn (Kalhê), located twenty-five kilometers south of al‑Malikiyah (Dêrik) and only five hundred meters from the border. Those in question were young men who were trying to cross the Syrian-Iraqi border illegally in order to escape forced recruitment by the PYD. The exact number of recruits could not be determined. According to eyewitness reports, approximately fifty people in three Asayiş vehicles were handed over to the PYD’s People’s Defense Units (YPG).

ʿAfrin: Transitional administration bans flags and pictures of political figures

KURDWATCH, April 21, 2015—On April 12, 2015, the Committee on Internal Affairs for the transitional administration in the canton of ʿAfrin, which was appointed by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), published ordinance number 105, which prohibits the display of flags and photos of political figures and martyrs in and on public places, shops, and private vehicles. The ordinance stipulates that violations will be punished with legal action. A similar ordinance was published on March 30, 2015 in the canton of Jazirah [further information]. Independent activists and politicians critical of the PYD fear that the intent of the ordinance is to ensure that only PKK-affiliated symbols are permitted in the Kurdish regions of Syria.

Tall Tamr: Asayiş breaks into PDK‑S office

KURDWATCH, April 18, 2015—On April 12, 2015, employees of the Asayiş, the security service of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), broke into the office of the Kurdistan Democratic Party – Syria (PDK‑S). They seized a television and a computer.

Tall Tamr: First recruits complete six months of forced service

KURDWATCH, April 17, 2015—On April 11, 2015, fifty-one recruits were released in Tall Baidar (twenty-five kilometers east of Tall Tamr) after completing six months of forced military service with the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG). They were drafted on October 11, 2014 in the course of a large-scale forced recruiting. It is unclear if all of the recruits drafted at that time have been released from service.

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