A weekly brief of events occurred in the Kurdistan regions of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey.
The exiled Cooperation Center for Iranian Kurdistan’s Political Parties’ (CCIKP) leaders convened on Wednesday to discuss Iran’s recent anti-government protests. The CCIKP anticipated the demonstrations would “continue and target the system and the entire power of the Islamic Republic.” The CCKIP also called for the creation of a “unified political center and structure to lead the protests and achieve success.” Iran’s major Kurdish parties formed the CCIKP in 2018 to establish a unified political platform, and it remains committed to reconciling with offshoots from the main parties.
A political prisoner named Siawesh Bahrami died hours after his release from prison in Pawa (Paveh) on Wednesday. One of Bahrami’s relatives told the Hengaw Organization for Human Rights they suspect Iranian authorities injected him with poison before his release. Bahrami was found dead in his siblings’ home from what a coroner’s report suggested was a heart attack. Concurrently, Iranian security forces arrested three Kurds in Sarpol-e Zahab, including a physician named Ali Delbakhta, for voicing opposition to the regime’s failure to address rising consumer prices. Iranian authorities also arrested an activist named Arej Rahimzadah in Marivan. Separately, Urmia’s Islamic Revolutionary Court sentenced a female activist named Nakhsheen Ahmed to three months in prison for “cooperation with a Kurdish party.” The same court sentenced an environmental activist named Saman Meraki to six months in prison for similar offenses in Sanandaj.
Iranian security forces killed a Kurdish border porter (kolbar) named Ako Rasouli near Baneh on Saturday. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) killed an Iraqi kolbar named Kaiwan Abdullah near Piranshah. Iranian authorities also wounded two kolbars near Hawraman and Nowsud on Wednesday.
Turkish artillery killed two children in Duhok Governorate’s Bamarni subdistrict on Thursday. A local leader told Rudaw that the Turkish military responded to a Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) attack on a nearby base by “shelling into the crowd and our families.” Turkish warplanes also carried out at least 12 airstrikes near Hiror village on Sunday.
The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) ended months of disengagement by meeting in Erbil on May 25. The two parties then released a joint statement that emphasized the “importance of dialogue” and announced plans for additional meetings. The KDP and PUK also decided to establish a joint committee to review and resolve disagreements. On May 26, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert facilitated a meeting between six major Kurdish parties in Erbil, where leaders and senior members exchanged views on several issues, including the parliamentary elections scheduled for October 1, 2022. Hennis-Plasschaert launched the UNAMI initiative after repeatedly warning Kurdish parties that division jeopardizes the viability of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
On Thursday, May 26th, Iraq’s Council of Representatives passed a law criminalizing normalization with the “Zionist entity.” 275 deputies, including Kurdish parties, out of 329, participated in the session. The law contains sixteen articles stating “death sentence or life in prison” anyone establishing “diplomatic, economic, political, militritaly, security, cultural, and any other” relationship with Israel. The United State denounced the law since it’s “jeopardizing freedom of expression and promoting an environment of antisemitism.”
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continued threats to invade more Kurdish areas in Syria. On Saturday, Erdogan told reporters that the military operations could happen “suddenly one night.” Moreover, during a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Erdogan said his plans to create a “safe zone,” 30 km deep inside Syria, is an “Utmost necessity.” On Monday, May 30th, the US National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan spoke to a senior Turkish official and “reiterated the importance of refraining from escalation in Syria to preserve existing ceasefire lines and avoid any further destabilization.” The Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of North and East of Syria (AANES) accused Turkey of creating “more chaos in Syria” and “supporting terrorism.” On the ground, Turkish forces struck a vehicle in Qamishli on Monday, killing a security officer and wounding three others. Meanwhile, The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said Turkey and its Syrian proxies had “randomly” fired “more than 320 shells” on civilians, medical institutions, and communications in the center of the town of Zarkan. The SDF also warned that Turkey had regrouped the “Hayat Tahrir al-Sham,” al Qaeda offshoot south of the occupied Afrin, to launch attacks on the Kurdish areas.
The AANES handed “several” Albanian children and women of ISIS (Da’esh) families to the Albanian government. The repatriation occurred during a joint delegation from Albania and Kosovo visit. Separately, the security forces in al Hol camp for Da’esh terrorists and their families found an Iraqi woman “decapitated” in the 18th murder case in 2022. The Da’esh sleeper cells have been responsible for most of the crimes occurring in the camp that holds tens of thousands of people.
The Turkish government remains against Sweden and Finland joining NATO until they “change laws,” mainly their handing of Kurds to Turkey. On Tuesday, May 31st, Ankara summoned German and French ambassadors to Ankara over events held by Kurdish activists against authoritarianism in Turkey.
The Co-chair of the Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Pervin Buldan, announced that her party is against the planned Turkish invasion of Syria’s Kurdistan. “HDP did not remain silent, and HDP will not be silent,” she said. Bulden also accused the government of using the wars as a tool before elections. “After the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, they are now pursuing a new war and annexation plan for Northern and Eastern Syria. They are getting ready to run their election campaign with tanks,” she added.
The Turkish government is prosecuting the father of Deniz Poyraz, a deceased Kurdish woman killed by a hate crime last year. Denize’s father, Abdülillah, conducted an interview and said,”Kurdish people are under pressure and that no matter what identity is oppressed, it is necessary always to oppose oppression.” The government accuses him of “making propaganda for a terrorist organization.”
Washington Kurdish Institute