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Kurdistan’s Weekly Brief, June 22, 2021

23.06.2021
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Iran

  • The Cooperation Center for Iranian Kurdistan’s Political Parties (CCIKP), an umbrella organization consisting of Iran’s Kurdish opposition parties, congratulated Iranian Kurds for boycotting thepresidential election held on June 18. The CCIKP described the boycott as a move by the Kurds “against the Islamic Republic policies.” The June 18 election recorded the lowest turnout of any Iranian presidential election since the establishment of the Iranian Republic in 1979.
  • The Iranian regime continued its campaign of repression in Iranian Kurdistan last week. as Iranian security forces arrested a female Kurdish activist named Soria Haqdost in Marivan on Thursday. Concurrently, the city’s appeals court upheld Kurdish activist Wafa Watandost’s 15-year sentence. Additionally, Iranian security forces arrested several more activists, including Mikael Minbari in Sanandaj, Star Mam Ali in Piranshahr, Rahman Karimi in Naqadeh, Saed Nazhad in Sardasht, and Najbib Dariai in Shinno. Lastly, a Kurdish activist from Mehabad, Rasoul Mala Ramimi,was sentenced to seven months in prison for “propaganda against the state.” 
  • Turkish border guards killed a Kurdish border porter (Kolbar) named Aziz Mohammedzada near Maku on Monday. Simultaneously, Iranian authorities killed two Kolbars near Baneh. The Kurdistan Association for Human Rights (KMMK) reported another Kolbar died four days after being shot by Iranian border guards near Hawraman.  

Iraq

  • Turkish warplanes and drones struck villages near Duhok Governorate’s Kani Masi and Sulymaniyah Governorate’s Mawat and Halsho sub-districts last week. Though Turkish officials claimed the strikes and ongoing military operations targeted elements of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) spokesperson Jotyar Adel told Rudaw that Turkey’s “main objective, in our opinion, is to weaken the Kurdistan Region as an entity.”
  • The Kurdistan Democratic Party’s (KDP) 80th Peshmerga Division and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan’s (PUK) 70th Peshmerga Division announced they were ready to be transferred to the command of the Ministry of Peshmerga last week. Ministry of Peshmerga spokesperson Miran Baker announced the ministry was already preparing for the eventual assimilation of both divisions into its command structure. 
  • ISIS (Da’esh) terrorists launchedmultiple attacks in Kirkuk Governorate’s Hawija District and the rest of the “disputed territories” last week. The terrorist organization continues to exploit the ongoing security vacuum in the region, and according to Iraqi media outlet IQ News, Iraq’s National Security Council has warned Prime Minister of Iraq Mustafa al Kadhimi that Da’esh is attaining some success in reestablishing itself in the Kirkuk-Mosul-Tikrit triangle. The US-led coalition has carried out dozens of airstrikes on Da’esh positions in the region in 2021.
  • Prime Minister of Iraq, Mustafa al Kadhimi, finally agreed to release Kurdistan’s public salary budget, an estimated 200 billion Iraqi dinars per month. Simultaneously, the KRG announced its commitment to the 2021 budget law, and Erbil and Baghdad are set to address their budget issues that have accumulated since 2014.

Syria 

  • The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported Turkish intelligence officers and Turkish-backed Islamist fighters arrested four Kurds, including a woman and two children, in Turkish-occupied Afrin last week. Additionally, fighters from the Turkish proxies Suqur al Shamal and Elite Army clashed in Afrin’s Sharan District. Disputes between Turkey’s proxies often turn violent as groups fight over control of local resources and advancing their criminal agenda.
  • Turkish forces and Turkish-backed Islamists launched indirect fire attacks on five villages southwest of Turkish-occupied Giri Spi. Though the attacks targeted the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), at least one Syrian Arab Army soldier was injured. Turkey and its proxies also struck Tel Rifat and areas north of Manbij. 
  • The SDF announced it captured 17 Da’esh terrorists during June 22 raids in Deir Ez Zor Governorate’s Busayrah town. The SDF also arrested four Iraqi Da’esh operatives responsible for assassinations and other terrorist activities in al Hawl camp. 
  • Several United Nations (UN) officials expressed concern regarding the Euphrates River’s low water levels caused by Turkey’s ongoing cutoff of water supplies to parts of northeastern Syria. An Autonomous Administration of North and East of Syria’s (AANES) energy official reaffirmed the ongoing shortage of water and said it is creating a humanitarian crisis and facilitating the spread of disease in the region. 

Turkey

  • A supporter of Turkey’s Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) attacked the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) office in Izmir and killed a female party member named Deniz Poyraz. The gunman was identified as Onur Gencer, a member of the Grey Wolves who served with Turkish forces during their 2019 invasion of northeast Syria. Numerous domestic and international organizations denounced the crime and the HDP released a statement that read, “The deadly attack, in which a young woman was murdered, [w]as a result of the government’s criminalization policy against the HDP.” Meanwhile, thousands of police surrounded Poyraz’s funeral on Friday, and Turkish authorities warned attendees against engaging in political activity during the ceremony. 
  • Turkey’s Court of Cassation accepted Chief Public Prosecutor Bekir Sahin’s filing to close the HDP, which was supported by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the MHP, after it was previously rejected due to “procedural deficiencies.” The HDP remains under intense pressure from the Turkish government, which has arrested and imprisoned thousands of members, including party founders and leaders, since 2015. The Turkish government has also shut down five major Kurdish parties since 1990. 
  • The “Kobani Trial” against 108 HDP members, who are facing the possibility of lengthy prison sentences, resumed in Ankara. At the same time, hundreds of arrest warrants were issued against Kurdish activists and HDP members, including 105 in Diyarbakir (Amed).,Turkish police carried out numerous raids on Tuesday.
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