Newsletter - November 15, 2015

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Al-Qamishli: Progressive Party denies information from ANHA

KurdWatch, November 14, 2015—According to a November 4, 2015 report by the Hawar (ANHA) news agency, which has close ties to the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the chairman of the Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party in Syria, ʿAbdulhamid Hajji Darwish, recently traveled to Sulaymaniyah; while there he visited with representatives of the transitional administration appointed by PYD for the territories under its control. At the meeting, he reportedly stated that the PYD’s People’s Defense Units (YPG) exercise legitimate military force in »Rojava« (Syrian-Kurdistan), and his party is against any military group that does not align itself with the YPG. That same day, the Progressive Party denied this version of events. According to the Progressive Party, the only thing ʿAbdulhamid Hajji Darwish said in Sulaymaniyah was that in order for the YPG to truly represent the Kurdish people, the PYD must stop trying to rule the people alone.

Al-Jawadiyah: Kurdish National Council protests against PYD’s education policy

KurdWatch, November 12, 2015—On November 7, 2015, the Kurdish National Council conducted a demonstration in al‑Jawadiyah (Çil Axa) against the education policy of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) [further information]. Approximately one thousand people took part in the event. Employees of the Asayiş, the PYD’s security service, blocked the demonstrators’ path, and for a moment it seemed as though the situation might escalate. However, several demonstration participants called for everyone to keep calm and turn around; the protest march then turned back. During the demonstration, employees of the Asayiş searched numerous people and confiscated their cell phones. 

Al-Qamishli: Asayiş once again forcibly recruits a number of young men

KurdWatch, November 9, 2015—On September 1, 2015, employees of the Asayiş, the security service of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) forcibly recruited numerous young men at random from the streets in al‑Qamishli. Recruiting took place on Sabʿ Bahrat Square in the center of al‑Qamishli and elsewhere. On November 4, a number of young men were recruited in al‑Maʿbada (Girkê Legê). The exact number of people forcibly recruited is not available.

Al-Qamishli: YPG spokesperson contradicts Salih Muslim on weapons deliveries

KurdWatch, November 8, 2015—At a press conference in al‑Qamishli on October 16, 2015, Redur Khalil, the press spokesperson of the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Defense Units (YPG), said that PYD co‑chairman Salih Muslim’s statement that the YPG had received weapons from the international coalition was »just his opinion«. According to Khalil, Muslim had been outside of his competence and spoken about things of which he had no information. Muslim had previously confirmed to the press that the US had dropped fifty tons of munitions for the YPG to aid in the fight against the Islamic State (IS), and additional weapons deliveries were expected. YPG spokesperson Khalil gave no statements regarding what happened to the arms dropped over al‑Hasakah province, instead referring to official statements from Washington.

Spokespeople for the US Department of Defense had corrected their original statements and said that the deliveries were only intended for Arab groups and had reached their intended target. The denials can be understood as showing deference to Turkish sensitivities [further information].

Washington: Pentagon denies arming the YPG

KurdWatch, November 8, 2015—After representatives of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and spokespeople for the US military had originally confirmed that weapons and ammunition dropped over al‑Hasakah province on October 11 [further information] had been secured by the PYD’s People’s Defense Units (YPG), both sides subsquently retracted this statement. The Pentagon stated that the delivery was intended solely for Arab groups and that there were no indications that it ended up in the possession of other groups. However, representatives of Arab units within the Syrian Democratic Forces [further information], which is dominated by the YPG, denied having received any weapons or ammunition, nor were they aware of any other militia that had been armed aside from »perhaps our partner, the Kurds«.Turkey had previously warned both the US and Russia that a further expansion of Kurdish influence along its border would not be tolerated. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also threatened the PYD with consequences should the weapons delivered by the Americans end up in the hands of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). 

Al-Hasakah: Syrian Democratic Forces start offensive

KurdWatch, November 8, 2015—On October 31, 2015, the Syrian Democratic Forces, a new military alliance that is dominated by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) [further information], announced the start of an offensive »to liberate the southern regions of al‑Hasakah province«. On November 1, fighters for the Syrian Democratic Forces attacked the Islamic State (IS) near al‑Hawl, approximately forty kilometers east of al‑Hasakah. The advance on the village, which is located approximately fifteen kilometers from the Syrian‑Iraqi border, was supported by air strikes by the US‑led coalition.   

Ad-Darbasiyah: Asayiş confiscate fabrics with camouflage patterns

KurdWatch, November 8, 2015—On October 27, 2015, employees of the Asayiş, the security service of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), confiscated rolls of fabric with camouflage patterns from numerous stores in ad-Darbasiyah. The move was justified on the grounds that the fabrics were being sold to the Islamic State (IS).

Al-Qahtaniyah: Kurdish National Council protests against PYD’s education policy

KurdWatch, November 8, 2015—On November 3, 2015, approximately four hundred people took part in a rally held by the Kurdish National Council in al‑Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî). The protesters carried posters opposing the education policy of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) [further information]. Employees of the Asayiş, the PYD’s security service, surrounded the protesters. Numerous participants were searched, and journalists were prevented from recording the rally. Furthermore, no loudspeakers could be used for the event.

Al-Malikiyah: PYD refuses to allow members of the Kurdish National Council to leave the country for Iraqi-Kurdistan

KurdWatch, November 7, 2015—On November 3, 2015, employees of the Asayiş, the security service of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), refused to allow several members of the Kurdish National Council to cross into Iraqi‑Kurdistan at the Faysh Khabur border that crosses east of al-Malikiyah (Dêrik). Ibrahim Biro, chairman of the National Council, was part of the group. In a statement released the same day, the Kurdish National Council called the incident »unjustifiable«.

Al-Qamishli: Rally for victims of the Sinai plane crash

KurdWatch, November 7, 2015—On November 3, 2015, the ruling Baʿth party conducted a rally on Sabʿ Bahrat Square in al‑Qamishli’s security zone, where the offices of the various Syrian intelligence services are located. Those gathered observed a moment of silence for the victims of the Russian passenger plane crash in the Sinai Peninsula.

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