Category: The Case for an Independent Kurdistan

The Fifth Column launches an in-depth series of reports on the case for Kurdish independence.

Yemen Halts US Spec Ops Raids After JSOC Raid Kills Dozens

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Yemen, (TFC)— Yemen’s government isn’t sitting idly after Trump’s first special operations raid killed dozens of civilians. Instead, despite White House spokespeople demanding media frame the raid as a success, Yemeni officials are calling for further investigations. Hefty restrictions to…

Ash Carter: More US Troops Won’t Help Syria, Iraq

Washington D.C., (TFC)— Two major events occurred within days of one another inside Washington’s newly terraformed halls. First, ex-Defense Secretary Ash Carter confessed that more US fighters in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere won’t improve anything. Second, a massive airstrike was…

Kurds in Northern Syria See National Conference as Priority for 2017

A national conference to establish a federal state in Syria has to be held soon, as the crisis in the country is entering a new phase, the Consecutive Board of the Movement for a Democratic Society said in a statement obtained by Sputnik on Saturday.

The statement went further that federalism was considered the best democratic model for the Syrians, as it represented variety within unity.

“Achieving national unity and holding a national conference are a priority at this phase because we are passing through a critical stage that needs dialogue,” the statement said.

Kurds to Be Included in Syrian Gov’t If They Lay Down Arms – Ankara

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The Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) will participate in the formation of the new government on condition they agree to lay down arms and support Syrian territorial integrity, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Friday.

Ankara considers the PYD and its armed wing, the YPG, to be affiliated with the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), which has been designated a terrorist group by Turkey as well as the United States.

Turkey: Journalists, Writers Face Terrorism, Separatism Charges

Trial Begins for Newspaper Advisory Board, Writers, Editors in Istanbul

The prosecution of writers and journalists charged with terrorism and separatism for their association with a newspaper raises serious concerns for freedom of expression in Turkey, Human Rights Watch said today. The first trial hearing begins on December 29, 2016, for four defendants detained since August and five others who are also being tried.

The four jailed defendants are the well-known novelist Aslı Erdoğan, the writer Necmiye Alpay, and newspaper editors İnan Kızılkaya and Zana Kaya. The prosecutor’s indictment accuses the four – and five others who are at liberty – of “spreading propaganda” for and being members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and of attempting to destroy the unity of the state. If convicted of the latter offense, they would face life in prison without parole.

Turkey: Silencing the Media

Ruthless Assault on Press Freedom Shields State from Scrutiny

Turkey’s government has all but silenced independent media in an effort to prevent scrutiny or criticism of its ruthless crackdown on perceived enemies, Human Rights Watch said today. The assault on critical journalism sharpened in 2014 but accelerated after the failed coup attempt in July 2016, denying Turkey’s population access to a regular flow of independent information from domestic newspapers, radio, and television stations about developments in the country.

The 69-page report, “Silencing Turkey’s Media: The Government’s Deepening Assault on Critical Media,” documents five important components of the crackdown on independent domestic media in Turkey, including the use of the criminal justice system to prosecute and jail journalists on bogus charges of terrorism, insulting public officials, or crimes against the state. Human Rights Watch also documented threats and physical attacks on journalists and media organizations; government interference with editorial independence and pressure on media organizations to fire critical journalists; the government’s takeover or closure of private media companies; and restrictions on access to the airwaves, fines, and closure of critical television stations.

Kurdish-Led Operation in Raqqa ‘Saved Thousands of Civilians’

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The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are continuing their fight against Daesh in the Syrian city of Raqqa. In an exclusive interview with Sputnik Turkey, spokeswoman for the operation command group on Raqqa’s liberation and commander of the Kurdish YPJ female battalion Cihan Sekh Ehmed commented on the current situation in the city.

According to Ehmed, the recent military operation in Raqqa helped to save the lives of thousands of civilians.

During the second stage of the Euphrates shield operation to liberate the city of Raqqa which started on December 10, more than 15 villages near Raqqa were liberated from Daesh militants, Ehmed said, adding that the terrorist group has taken heavy losses.