Welcome to The Kurdish Situation Report, 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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Corresponding locations for this week’s news stories are numbered above.
Turkey (Bakur or Northern Kurdistan)
1. Death tolls are rising in Cizre, a town in the Kurdish-majority southeastern region of Turkey. Amnesty International has confirmed that civilians have been injured and killed after the Turkish government began forcing curfews on the town.
Amnesty International has also confirmed that around 30 civilians are trapped in a basement without access to medical care. Amnesty claims that the Turkish military has prevented ambulances from reaching the wounded, even opening fire on Kurds attempting to provide medical care.
2. Scholars around the world have joined forces to create a petition decrying the Turkish military campaign in the Kurdish-majority southeastern Turkey, which has been ongoing since August 2015. The petition against the campaign of violence and forced curfews has over 2,000 signatories. Read and sign the petition below.
Iraq (Bashur or Southern Kurdistan)
3. A Yezidi woman from Iraqi Kurdistan has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Nadia Murad, a survivor of ISIS captivity, was nominated earlier this month by the Iraqi Government.
4. During several meetings last week, KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani spoke with EU and US delegations about the financial stability and future economic viability of the Kurdistan region.
5. A high-level meeting between the KRG Prime Minister Barzani and his Iraqi counterpart in Baghdad on Sunday ended with an agreement to form a joint committee to continue talks between both sides to seek a solution for their budgetary dispute.
A Kurdish delegation led by PM Nechirvan Barzani met Iraqi premier Haider Abadi in Baghdad to discuss the unpaid Peshmerga funds as part of Iraq’s defense system as well as Kurdistan’s share of the federal health budget.
6. An explosion early Friday morning has damaged a section of the gas pipeline that is necessary for generating about half of the electricity in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region.
“The gas pipeline that stretches to Erbil was blown up near the sub-district of Shwan last night,” said a statement from the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Interior Ministry.
Syria (Rojava or Western Kurdistan)
7. The United States has sent Brett McGurk, special envoy to the anti-Islamic State coalition, to visit the Kurds in northern Syria. McGurk spent two days in the self-proclaimed northern Kurdish enclave of Rojava visiting Kobane and other Syrian Kurdish cities.
8. Saleh Muslim, the leader of the Democratic Union Party, the YPG’s political wing, was not invited to participate in the Syrian peace talks that took place last weekend in Geneva.
Muslim had shown up in Geneva anyway, but was discreetly asked to leave Saturday by U.S. officials after Turkey threatened to disrupt the talks if he was allowed to remain in town, according to Western diplomats attending the talks.
9. The Central Command of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) has released a statement reporting ongoing violations and attacks by the Turkish government against the Kurdish-controlled border of Syria, known as Rojava.
The YPG stressed that they will no more remain silent on these clearly provocative attacks by the Turkish military, adding; “In the event of a violation of the Rojava border by the Turkish state and its military forces, we will defend our land and people.”
Iran (Rojhelat or Eastern Kurdistan)
10. On 25 January 2016, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) and the Centre for Kurdish Progress co-organised a conference on Iranian Kurdistan in the British Parliament in London.
The speakers put forward a number of issues concerning the human rights situation of Iran’s Kurds, saying that despite appearances, the oppression of Iran’s Kurds, and other ethnic and religious minorities has been further accentuated under Rouhani’s presidency, with a significant increase in executions especially in Kurdistan.
11. Kurdish opposition political parties in Iran have revealed that the executions carried out by the Iranian regime against the Kurds have been increasing annually, indicating that during the past nine months (according to the Iranian calendar), Iran has executed more than 750 people, the majority of whom are Kurdish.
12. Many Iranian Kurds have been rejected from running in the upcoming Iranian parliamentary elections. Eight current Kurdish MPs have been denied the opportunity to participate in elections – four from Sina, three from Kermanshah and one from Ilam.
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