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Kurdish Situation Report: November 9th, 2015

PKK women

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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Points of interest for November 9th, 2015

Points of interest for November 9th, 2015

Corresponding locations for this week’s news stories are numbered above.

Turkey (Bakur or Northern Kurdistan)

PKK women

1) The Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) has called an end to the month-old ceasefire in Turkey on Thursday. The announcement came a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdocan vowed to “liquidate” them.

“The unilateral halt to hositilities has come to an end with the AKP’s war policy and the latest attacks,” said the PKK in a statement. The PKK had declared the ceasefire on October 10th to ensure a “fair and just election.”

2) The city of Silvan, in the Kurdish-majority region of Turkey, is under a week long curfew. Local news outlets have reported that clashes between protesters and Turkish soldiers have left one taxi driver dead, and five others injured.

The curfew in Silvan is the latest in a string of Turkish government-imposed curfews in Kurdish-majority cities since mid-August.

Iraq (Bashur or Southern Kurdistan)

Najmaldin Karim at Middle East Institute

3) Kirkuk’s Governor, Dr. Najmaldin Karim, was in Washington D.C. to speak to the Middle East Institute about Kirkuk, a city that many claim is the key to the future of Iraq.

Governor Karim spoke about the unique qualities of Kirkuk, saying that despite the threat from ISIS, Kirkuk has been able to deliver humanitarian services for Kurdish, Arab, Turkmen, and Christian citizens.

4) A top security official from Iraqi Kurdistan has called for the United States to provide more arms and winter gear to the Kurdish Peshmerga. Lahur Talabani, the head of Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)’s Zanyari Intelligence Agency, made his claims during a trip to Washington D.C. last week.

Talabani also called for the urgent need to reassess the United States’ strategy against the Islamic State, saying that ISIS is able to cross between Syria and Iraq with great ease and agility, and that the United States needs “to start looking at Syria and Iraq in one piece.”

5) A suicide bomb killed four police officers in Kirkuk last week. This is one of the first attacks in months, and occurred in an otherwise peaceful and safe area of Kirkuk.

Governor Karim offered his condolences to the families of the victims, and spoke about mounting security challenges, due in part, to delayed payments by the central Iraqi government in Baghdad.

Syria (Rojava or Western Kurdistan)

syrian democratic forces

syrian democratic forces

6) The Turkish army has built up a significant military presence on the Syrian-Turkish border, across from the Efrîn Canton of Rojava.

Syrian residents claim that Turkish soldiers have begun to lay mines along the border, saying “neither you, nor your animals” will be able to cross the border.

7) The new Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continue to advance on the Islamic State south of al-Hasakah. The commander of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) claims that the offensive involves a massive area, spanning into Iraq.

The SDF seeks to open a safe corridor between Mount Sinjar (Shingal) in western Iraq, and al-Hasakah in Cîzrê (Jazira) Canton of Rojava in Syria.

Iran (Rojhelat or Eastern Kurdistan)

Young girl in the Iranian-Kurdish village of Palangan. (Credit: Amos Chapple via The Guardian)

8) A Kurdish-Iranian author has been forced to flee Iran after having been threatened with arrest for “social and cultural activities.”

Zainab Babayi was previously held for 11 months, and was released on the condition that she stop her activities.

Babayi has fled her home in Mahabad, Iran, and is seeking asylum with her family in the European Union.

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