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Kurdistan’s Weekly Brief December 21, 2021


A weekly brief of events occurred in the Kurdistan regions of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey.
The Iranian regime executed Heidar Ghorbani, a Kurdish political prisoner, despite outcry by human rights organizations, including Amnesty International. According to the Hengaw Organization for Human Rights, Ghorbani was executed on Sunday in Sanandaj (Sena) prison secretly, while authorities falsely informed his family to visit the jail before his Ghorbani’s “transfer” to a Tehran prison. Upon arrival, the officers took the family to Sena’s main cemetery and pointed to Ghorbani’s grave. “They buried him in Beheshte Mohammadi cemetery themselves and didn’t give us his body,” Ghorbani’s relative told Iran Human Rights. Ghorbani was jailed in October of 2016 and accused of providing transport and logistical support in an attack on three Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). However, Ghorbani and his lawyers denied the charges, and many reports suggested his interrogation under torture. On Monday, December 20th, dozens of Kurds in Ghorbani’s hometown, Kamyaran, protested his execution, and thousands of Kurdish activists and human rights advocates posted Ghorbani’s story on social media. The Cooperation Center for Iranian Kurdistan’s Political Parties (CCIKP) said “baseless accusations” were used against Ghorbani for political leverage, including to dismay civilian activists. The CCIKP accused the Iranian regime of torturing Ghorbani for “five years” and “stripping him from his basic rights.”
Families of nine Iranian Kurdish migrants who were deported from Turkey to Syria held a strike in front of the Turkish embassy in Tehran, demanding Turkish authorities to reveal the fate of the migrants, who were deported by Turkey months ago to Turkish-occupied areas in Syria. The migrants allegedly claimed they were Syrians to avoid deportation to Iran, but they remain missing. 
After several ISIS (Da’esh) attacks on the Peshmerga forces, Erbil Counter-Terrorism announced the capture of a cell of terrorists, the group are members of the “north of Baghdad” branch of the “Islamic State.” According to the confessions of the terrorists, they provided logistical help to other terrorists in Baghdad, including medical aid to wounded terrorists. Separately, the Peshmerga forces seized a Da’esh hideout and “diffused group of mines and bombs planted along the road in the area” near Qarah Tapah on Friday. Further, near the same areas, the Peshmerga forces discovered a mass grave of dozens of Iraqi soldiers killed by Da’esh terrorists in 2018. Since the recent Da’esh attacks, the Peshmerga forces have launched several campaigns cracking down on terrorists operating in the disputed territories.
At least twelve people were killed by floods in fifteen neighborhoods in Erbil on Friday after heavy rainfall. The flooding occurred instantly in the early hours of Friday, preventing victims from escaping, including a 10-month old child. Erbil province declared a state of emergency to clear the damages in homes and roads and as a precautionary step of further flooding. According to Erbil’s governor Omed Khoshnaw, the property damage to private and public property has reached nearly 21 billion Iraqi dinars (around 20 million USD) so far. In the Takia district of Sulaymaniyah province, a body of 18 year old was found 3 miles away from a flooding area, a day after he was missing. 
According to Russian state-owned Sputnik, Turkey and Syria held talks recently over Turkish presence in the Eastern Euphrates and the Kurdish areas run by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Force (SDF). According to a Syrian military officer who spoke to Sputnik, the two sides discussed the “reactivation of the Adana Agreement. The agreement signed in 1998 allows Turkish forces to launch military incursions 5km (3.1 miles) deep into Syrian soil. The meeting aims to undermine the Kurdish control self-administration in the region amid failed Russian attempts at convincing the Syrian regime to grant constitutional rights to the Kurds. Meanwhile, during a meeting with Arab tribes in Deir Ez Zor governorate, the commander of the SDF, Mazloum Abdi, said they wouldn’t hold “any talks” with the Syrian regime without the participation of the non-Kurdish representatives in the region. The non-Kurds are mainly in Manbij, Deir Ez Zor, and Raqqa. Abdi’s meeting came after concerns from the Sunni Arab population, part of the AANES who faced brutality by the regime. 
On Tuesday, Turkey and its radical proxies shelled villages near Zarkan town (Abu Rasain), killing three civilians and wounding four. Among the victims, a 60 year old woman, Fasila al Eid, and her 30 year old daughter Malika al Eid. Furthermore, amid more violations by Turkey in occupied Afrin, the Kurdish Front, an armed faction of the SDF, called upon the international community, the United Nations, and Human Rights organization to “to carry out their legal, moral and humanitarian duty” and “play a role” in ending the Turkish occupation. The statement also called for the “safe return” of the displaced civilians to their homes and “hand back their looted lands and properties.”  
After the suspicious death of a female Kurdish political prisoner, another Kurdish prisoner was announced dead by “suicide.” The deceased prisoner, Vedat Erkmen, was sentenced to life in prison, and his family rejected the government’s claim of suicide and questioned how Erkmen obtained a rope while in solitary confinement. Vedat’s funeral was restricted by the heavy presence of the police who feared a breakout of protests. Meanwhile, a Turkish court in Siirt sentenced a former Turkish military Sergent, Musa Orhan, charged with the rape of a Kurdish girl who later died to ten years in prison based on “good conduct.” However, Orhan will not spend his time in prison but is subject to judicial control measures.
In the light of economic crises and complex living conditions, including the fall of the Turkish lira, thousands of Kurds protested the government in Diyarbakir (Amed) on Saturday. The protesters criticized Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his economic policies, resulting in the collapse of people’s livelihood. 
On Tuesday, December 21st, the 8th session of the “Kobani trials” against 108 Kurdish and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) members amid continued restriction by the court against the lawyers and defendants. The HDP described the court location as “Xinjiang prison campus.” The jailed Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas joined the hearing from his prison via the internet and said: “ the physical difficulties, health problems, and pressure created by holding trial periods at this frequency make it difficult for us to defend. Our lawyers come and go to the courtroom on a prison campus outside Ankara every morning during the winter days for two weeks.” 
Washington Kurdish Institute
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