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Kurdistan’s Weekly Brief April, 2022

Kurdistan’s Weekly Brief April, 2022
28.04.2022
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A weekly brief of events occurred in the Kurdistan regions of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey.

Iran 

  • Iranian border guards ambushed a group of Kurdish border porters (kolbars) in Kermanshah Province’s Nowsud District and killed a kolbar in Sardasht named Suliman Ibrahimzadeh. The Hengaw Organization for Human Rights reported that 34 kolbars have been wounded over the past two weeks, and three have died. Iranian authorities killed two of the deceased, and the third died of a heart attack. Separately, a Kurdish member of the Iranian Army (Artesh) was killed by a mine from the Iran-Iraq War in Sanandaj. Mines from that conflict have killed dozens and wounded hundreds since 1988. 
  • A criminal court in Kamyaran sentenced four Kurdish men, Mala Mohammed, Mirza Rahmani, Sirwan Qurbani, and Burhan Kamangar, to three months in prison for attending the funeral of a Kurdish activist named Haider Qurbana. The Iranian regime executed Qurbana on December 19, 2021. Further, an Iranian military court in Urmia sentenced a 19-year-old Kurdish conscript named Mohammed Azizi to 30 months in prison for “cooperation with a Kurdish party.” Concurrently, Iranian security forces arrested 17-year-old Ramin Rahmani in Salas-e Babajani. The Iranian regime has arrested at least 120 activists, including eight females, during the past month. 
  • The Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (KDPI) reported that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) set up an outpost in Bokan’s Sarda Kuistan village. Though the villagers rejected an IRGC commander’s request to establish a presence in the area, the IRGC eventually seized land from locals and began construction. 

Iraq

  • Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs refuted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s claim that Baghdad and Erbil were assisting Turkey’s ongoing invasion of Iraqi Kurdistan and handed the Turkish ambassador to Iraq a “strongly worded protest that called for an end to unacceptable violations and such provocative acts.” Meanwhile, the Presidency of the Council of Representatives of Iraq summoned Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussien to discuss Turkish and Iranian violations of Iraq’s sovereignty. Hussein said Turkey relies on a 1984 agreement with the Saddam Hussein regime that allows Turkish military forces to push five kilometers into Iraq if they notify the Iraqi government 72 hours before any operation, though Hussein also said the agreement was meant to expire after one year. Turkey has announced the deaths of two Turkish soldiers and the “neutralization” of 23 Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants since its current incursion began two weeks ago, but the latest operations have also damaged civilian homes and raised fears of additional Turkish military bases on Iraqi soil. 
  • US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Iraq and Iran Jennifer Gavtio expressed Washington’s “multifaceted” concerns regarding Iraq’s ongoing failure to form a government. “The United States is eager to work with that new government on key issues of mutual concern, including Iraq’s stability and sovereignty, economic empowerment for all Iraqis, anti-corruption, human rights protections, energy independence, climate, and health,” said Gavito. While the deadline set by Muqtada al Sadr, the leader of Iraq’s largest parliamentary coalition, draws closer, none of Iraq’s political parties have shown a willingness to abandon their current positions. Sadr’s coalition seeks a majority government, the Iranian-backed blocs are aiming to be included in the next government, and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and 

Syria 

  • Turkey and its Islamist proxies ramped up their assault on the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). On Wednesday, a Turkish drone strike killed three members of the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ), Ranya Hanan, Rodin Mohammed, and Cihan Ali, in Kobani. At the same time, Turkish artillery strikes in Kobani wounded and displaced civilians. Turkey and its proxies also shelled Zarkan, Ain Essa, Tal Tamer, and Manbij, causing property damage and killing an elderly civilian named Hamodi Osman. SDF General Commander Mazloum Abdi blamed Turkish attacks for hindering “anti-ISIS operations.” Moreover, the AANES accused Turkey of exploiting international events, “especially what is happening in Ukraine,” to “pursue hostile policies against the people of the region.” The AANES then called on the “guaranteer powers,” the US and Russia, to prevent Turkish escalations because they run the risk of facilitating ISIS’s (Da’esh) return. Lastly, several Kurdish sources claimed Turkish indirect fire had killed at least 60 civilians, including eight children, since Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring in October 2019.
  • A Syrian woman was found dead with three gunshot wounds on Thursday in the al Hol camp, which continues to hold thousands of Da’esh terrorists and their relatives. The woman, Wala Hamami, lived in the camp’s fourth section and camp authorities claimed Da’esh militants shot her with an AK-47 for straying from the terrorist organization’s ideology. Two days after Hamami’s murder, suspected Da’esh operatives severely injured an Iraqi man named Rami Mehdi in al Hol’s first section. Da’esh supporters have killed ten people in al Hol so far in 2022.
  • The Assad regime maintained its blockade of Aleppo’s Kurdish-majority neighborhood, Sheikh Maqsoud, last week. Sheikh Maqsoud was previously the site of numerous human rights violations committed by Turkish proxies before it fell under the control of the Assad regime, which impedes the flow of food and medicine into the neighborhood. 

Turkey 

An Istanbul court sentenced Turkish philanthropist Osman Kavala to life in prison for attempting to “overthrow the government” by participating in anti-government protests in Istanbul in 2013. Kavala’s sentence outraged the international community and human rights organizations, including the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). Seven of Kavala’s colleagues were sentenced to 18 years in prison on similar charges. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) issued a ruling in 2019 that called for Kavala’s “immediate release”, but the Turkish government ignored the ruling. On a separate note, Turkish police arrested several Kurdish politicians and raided the HDP’s Doğubayazıt office in Agri Province. 

HDP’s ethnic Armenian lawmaker Garo Paylan introduced a bill in Turkey’s Grand National Assembly that called for the Turkish government to recognize the Armenian Genocide. The bill was met with strong opposition from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Simultaneously, the HDP released a statement marking the 107th anniversary of the genocide that read, “It is extremely important to live in peace in this land with the Armenian people and our Armenian compatriots, who are among the ancient peoples of this geography. At the same time, it is in the needs and interests of the peoples to develop diplomatic, commercial, and economic relations with the state of Armenia, which is part of our region.” Concomitantly, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu waved the sign of the Grey Wolves, an ultranationalist paramilitary organization affiliated with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), at protestors during his visit to Uruguay and created a diplomatic issue between the two nations. 

Washington Kurdish Institute

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