A weekly brief of events occurred in the Kurdistan regions of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey.
- The Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) denounced the suspicious death of a female Kurdish political prisoner Garibe Gezer. The HDP said that Gezer “had been subjected to severe torture by prison guards” and “sexually assaulted,” accusing the Turkish instituions of “crimes” under the current government. Gezer’s death raised anger among the Kurdish population, and the HDP put the “prime responsibility” on the AKP [Party of Justice and Development] led government.”
- On Saturday, at least 11 HDP members and Kurdish activists were arrested in simultaneous raids on the HDP building in Sirnak, Cizre, and Silopi. In Nusaybin, the Turkish police arrested three Kurds, including a teenager on Thursday.
- A Turkish court in Diyarbakir (Amed) sentenced the female Co-chair of the Kurdish solidarity association MEBYA-DER, Yüksel Almas, to ten years in prison for “membership” in the PKK. Last month, the male Co-chair of the MEBYA-DER Şeyhmus Karadağ was sentenced to six year, three months in prison for demanding information for those killed in Turkey’s war on the Kurds.
- The Turkish lira continued crashing against the US dollar and in 2021, it lost 50% of its value while the inflation reached 21.4%. HDP lawmaker Saruhan Oluc warned of a “broken budget” of 2022 if it passes without revision due to the recent lira crash and said that the Turkish Central Bank is selling US dollars that it does not have.
- Brett McGurk, Deputy Assistant to the President and Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa, visited Baghdad and Erbil and met with Iraqi and Kurdish officials. According to a statement by the White House, the U.S. envoy “confirmed President Biden’s commitment to the results of the Strategic Dialogue with the Government of Iraq, underscoring that there are no longer U.S. forces serving in a combat role in Iraq.” In Erbil, the Kurdistan Presidency said both sides “deemed the partnership and coordination among Iraqi parties and factions necessary to be able to form an inclusive government.” McGurk was accompanied by Zehra Bell, Director of Iraq and Syria at the National Security Council (NSC), and both U.S. ambassador to Iraq Matthew Tueller and Consul General to Erbil Robert Palladino participated in the meetings. On July 26th, 2021, President Biden announced ending the U.S. combat mission in Iraq by the end of the year.
- Following many deadly ISIS (Da’esh) attacks in Iraq’s disputed territories in recent weeks, the Peshmerga forces launched several military campaigns, searching and clearing several areas across the region. The Ministry of the Peshmerga released a video of their recent operations, where Da’esh hideouts were discovered. Moreover, more meetings and joint operations between the Peshmerga and the Iraqi forces took place, including near Makhmour, Kifri, and Shwan Districts. In Kurdistan, the Sulaymaniyah Asayesh announced the arrest of “several” Da’esh sleeper cells after raids in Halabja, Said Sadiq districts, and its surroundings. The US-led coalition confirmed the arrest of a Da’esh “leader” during the operations, while Kurdistan’s Counter-Terrorism said the security raids resulted in the arrest of 17 Da’esh terrorists.
- After assassinating a commander of the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS), a Turkish drone launched another airstrike hitting a building used by the YBS as a “self-administration” center for the Yazidi Khana Sor town. The YBS did not confirm casualties though initial reports said it killed two members. After the Yazidi Genocide, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) established an offshoot in Sinjar, and Turkey has launched dozens of attacks on the area.
- The intelligence officers (Ettela’at) raid the home of a female Kurdish activist named Kazhal Nasri in Sanandaj on Sunday. The activist’s home was raided, and she was taken to an undisclosed location. Furthermore, the security forces arrested more Kurds, mainly civilian activists, including environmental activist Farhang Ozairi in Tangi Sa town, Jamshid Razaie, Farouq, and Mohammed Nickpay in Marivan, Loqman Malawani, Khaman Ahmadi, and Bayzid in Mahabad. Meanwhile, 19 Kurds remain in jails after a month of detention in Baneh.
- Following cyberattacks on the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (KDPI), the Hengaw organization for Human Rights accused the Iranian regime of creating a website using their name in Kurdish and Persian languages. In a statement, Hengaw Organization denounced the “disgusting acts” by the “Ettela’at ” and reaffirmed that it has no “affiliations” with it. Hengaw is one of the primary sources in Iranian Kurdistan, documenting human rights abuses by the regime.
- On Sunday, December 12th, Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) ambushed several Kurdish border porters (Koblar), wounding them near the Qandil mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan. Moreover, two Kolbars who were injured near Nowsud on both Tuesday and Thursday were injured by the Iranian border guards. Separately, two people were wounded severely by remnant mines of the Iran-Iraq war near Qasr-e Shirin County and Dehloran.
- In a joint raid by the US-led coalition forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), five Da’esh terrorists were killed near Al Busayrah town of Deir Ez Zor. The SDF said during the raid, which included the U.S. air support, the five terrorists opened fire at the security forces, and later it appeared they all had suicidal vests on them. The raid came after a military exercise by the US forces and the SDF near the Deir Ez Zor. Meanwhile, the SDF handed one hundred Iraqi Da’esh terrorists jailed in Syria to Iraq’s federal authorities. Separately, Turkish proxies and the SDF continued clashes on a minor scale compared to recent weeks. Most of the conflicts occur alongside the Turkish occupation borders with areas controlled by the SDF near the strategic M4 highway.
- The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported more violations in Afrin against the Kurdish population last week, including more arrests against Kurds for ransom collections and excavating archeological sites in Afrin. Further, the spokesperson for Afrin Human Rights, Ibrahim Shekho told Rudaw that the Kurds had become minority due to demographic changes by Turkish proxies, and 660 Kurds have been kidnapped and arrested by the Turkish proxies in 2021. Last week, the Turkish-backed Hamza Division tortured an 85-years old Kurdish man with his daughter in an armed robbery.