The Kurdish Situation Report is a weekly update on the latest news coming from the four Kurdish regions in Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran. The Kurdish Situation Report is co-produced by the Washington Kurdish Institute and The Kurdish Project.
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Turkey (Bakur or Northern Kurdistan)
- More than 100 people are dead in Turkey after two bombs went off during a peace rally in Ankara on Saturday. Organized by the pro-Kurdish HDP, the rally was in support of a peace dialogue between the Turkish government and the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK). The two groups have been fighting one another since a cease-fire agreement collapsed in July.
- HDP leadership has accused the AKP party and the Turkish government for their involvement in the twin bombings. The Turkish government has rejected these accusations, and has blamed the self-declared Islamic State terrorist group, also known as ISIS. As of Tuesday, ISIS has not claimed responsibility for the bombings.
- HDP co-president Selahattin Demirtaş has harshly criticized Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for poor investigation on recent similar attacks, and called these bombings “an attack by our state against our people.” A bombing in Suruç in July killed 33.
- In the hours following the bombings, the de-facto leader of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), Vice-Chairman Cemil Bayik, called for a ceasefire of hostilities between the PKK and the Turkish government. Although the Turkish government has continued to send airstrikes on PKK positions, the PKK, so far, is committed to keeping the ceasefire.
- In a statement released Monday, Bayik told France Press that the ceasefire between the Kurdish forces and Turkey is to help the pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HDP) win seats in the upcoming elections on November 1st. Bayik also said that the purpose of the ceasefire is to show the PKK’s “intention to choose peace over chaos.”
Iraq (Bashur or Southern Kurdistan)
- A total of five people have been killed, and more than a dozen people were wounded during protests in several towns and cities in the Iraqi Kurdistan region. Protesters are demanding salaries, which they claim have been withheld by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for three months.
- Two Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) offices in Qaladizie and Kalar were set on fire by protesters, who were angry that the presidential debate has still gone unresolved. Tensions between the KDP and Gorran (Change) parties reached their peak when both sides blamed each other over the deteriorating security situation in Iraqi Kurdistan.
- The KRG’s Speaker of Parliament was blocked from returning to Erbil by a KDP security checkpoint, and several politicians were escorted from the capital of Erbil. This could possibly result in the dissolution of the KRG parliament, the return of political power to the KRG president, and the establishment of a temporary cabinet until new elections take place.
Syria (Rojava or Western Kurdistan)
- A new military, called the Syrian Democratic Forces, has been formed. This military will be led by the People’s Defense Units (YPG), and will include participation by Syrian Arabs forces, and Assyrian Christians militias.
- The Director of the KRG’s Parastin & Zanyari Intelligence Agency– Lahur Talabani– announced on Monday that 120 tons of weapons and ammunitions would be delivered to the Syrian Democratic forces by the United States. This effort is a new “equip and enable” strategy by the White House, after the failure of its “train and equip” program with moderate Syrian opposition forces.
- 175,000 people have returned to Kobani since its liberation from the self-proclaimed Islamic State terrorists. Syrian Kurdish officials from the PYD have called on the international community to help rebuild Kobani, and to help support the education system in Rojava.
Iran (Rojhelat or Eastern Kurdistan)
- Seven Kurdish activists were executed in Urmia last week by the Iranian government. Since Iranian President Rouhani took power in 2013, the rate of executions of Kurdish activists has risen dramatically.
- An Iranian Kurd seeking asylum in Germany has taken his own life. Siroius Rasouly– a member of the Komala Party in Iranian Kurdistan– had been seeking asylum in the EU, and was said to have been suffering depression after not being granted asylum.
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