A weekly brief of events occurred in the Kurdistan regions of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey.
A group of Iranian Azeris killed a Kurdish man named Fardin Ebrahimi and wounded another named Mohammad Alizadai after an argument in Naqadah on Saturday. A group of Azeri nationalists wearing Turkish clothes then damaged several Kurdish shops and homes. Dozens of Kurds responded by holding a protest against local officials in front of a police station, though the Iranian police used force to put down the protest, killing one and wounding three. Iranian authorities also deployed hundreds of security forces to prevent further demonstrations. Azeri nationalists have fallen in favor with the Iranian regime through their adherence to Shi’ism but also receive support from right-wing parties in Azerbaijan and Turkey due to their Turkic ethnicity. Several exiled Kurdish parties denounced the attack and blamed the Iranian regime for “failing to deescalate the situation.”
Iranian authorities arrested a Kurdish man named Abdulaziz Mohammadi in Urmia for the second time in recent months on charges related to activism. The Iranian regime also arrested three activists, including one named Mahdi Fatehi, in Sanandaj and Mehabad.
On Wednesday, the Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK) announced two of its fighters, Adris Faqihi and Mohsen Qadiri, were killed in clashes with Iranian authorities near Bokan on July 27. PJAK is an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that was established in 2004.
Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC/ Pasdaran) killed a Kurdish border porter (Kolbar) named Omed Khezry and wounded six more in Baneh, Marivan, and Piranshahr. Eight additional Kolbars were wounded and three were killed in a vehicle crash near Baneh on Wednesday. Lastly, a Kolbar was found dead near the Qasir-e Sherin border crossing in Kermanshah Province.
Mousa Babakhani, a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party-Iran’s (KDP-I) leadership council, was found dead in an Erbil hotel on Thursday. The Cooperation Center for Iranian Kurdistan’s Political Parties (CCIKP) claimed Babakhani, who joined the KDP-I over 22 years ago, was assassinated by the “the terrorists of the Islamic regime of Iran.” Babakhani’s funeral was held on Tuesday and attended by dozens of KDP-I leaders and members on Tuesday. Though Kurdish security officials are still investigating the cause of Babakhani’s death, the Iranian regime has assassinated hundreds of KDP-I members and other opposition leaders at home and abroad since 1979.
ISIS (Da’esh) terrorists set up a fake checkpoint on the main road between Makhmour and Erbil late Saturday, kidnapping five travelers and wounding three. Furthermore, Da’esh operatives killed one Iranian-backed militiaman and wounded another near al Kuwayr, 20 miles north of Makhmour, on Monday. Da’esh terrorists also kidnapped a Kurdish shepherd near Makhmour and killed two federal police officers west of Kirkuk. Finally, Da’esh continued its ongoing campaign against Iraq’s electrical infrastructure by attacking several electricity pylons, which caused severe shortages in Kirkuk and Makhmour and threatens to exacerbate unrest throughout the country.
Turkish warplanes and/or drones struck several locations in Iraqi Kurdistan, including Shiladeze and Duhok Governorate’s Kani Masi subdistrict. The Turkish military also prevented residents from repairing damage to the electricity infrastructure caused by air and artillery strikes in Kista and threatened them with death. Though Turkey continues to claim its ongoing operations in Iraq’s Kurdish region are targeting the PKK, they have killed dozens of civilians and displaced thousands more.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzade clarified that raising the flag of Kurdistan during the reception of President of Kurdistan Region Nechirvan Barzani in Tehran was a mistake. Khatibzade went on to say, “Iran has always respected the territorial unity and territorial integrity of Iraq and has an unchangeable policy in this regard.”
Clashes erupted between the Turkish-backed Ahrar as Sharqia and Ninth Brigade over control of wealth and land confiscated from displaced Kurds in occupied Afrin and the rural areas surrounding the city on Monday. Several pro-Kurdish outlets reported fighters from both groups were killed in the fighting, but the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported a child was also injured. On July 28, The US Department of the Treasury imposed sanctions on Ahrar as Sharqia for atrocities against Kurds and involvement in criminal activity.
The Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) opened a new representation office in Geneva, though it remains excluded from the UN-led Geneva peace talks on Syria due to Turkey’s veto. That said, the executive deputy head of the AANES, Badran Chia Kurd, commemorated the opening of the Geneva office by saying, “This step comes in order to develop relations between us and the Swiss government and people, and this representation will serve as a bridge between us.”
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and affiliated groups engaged in another round of fighting with Turkish proxies last week. The Christian-led Tal Tamer Military Council announced it clashed with Turkish-backed Islamists after several weeks of intermittent indirect fire attacks on the town. Concurrently, the Manbij Military Council reported several skirmishes with Islamist fighters attempting to infiltrate the town.
The SDF announced it captured two Da’esh terrorists near as Shaddadi with the support of the US-led coalition. That said, Da’esh brought its war on electricity to Syria by attacking several electricity pylons near al Hawl. Likewise, four children were wounded by a previously unexploded Da’esh IED near Kobani on Sunday.
Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-chair Pervin Buldan staged a rally in Hakkari Province’s Yüksekova (Gever) District as part of ongoing efforts to prevent the Turkish government from closing the party and addressed the crowd in saying, “We face great persecution and oppression. Those who target the HDP every day and insult the HDP should come and see the upright stance of the people in Gever. Let them understand once again how they embraced.” Barring additional delays, the Constitutional Court of Turkey is likely to rule on the closure case against the HDP by the end of September.
The July 30th massacre of seven members of a Kurdish family in Konya was followed by additional attacks on Kurds by ultranationalist Turks last week. Fascist gangs in Antalya attacked Kurds and their homes after government-supported media outlets blamed the PKK for the wildfires ravaging parts of Turkey. Likewise, checkpoints were set up in Manavgat to identify and assault Kurds, which forced many Kurdish families to remain homebound for days to avoid attacks. Simultaneously, a group of Turkish fascists attacked and injured five Kurdish agricultural workers in Çorum.
Turkish police arrested seven Kurds, mostly HDP supporters, in Kars. Turkish authorities also arrested an HDP lawmaker’s adviser, while three people detained for protesting the massacre of a Kurdish family were transferred to face prosecution.