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The Kurdish Situation Report: October 19th, 2015

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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)

selahattin demirtas

HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtas has been targeted for an attack by the Islamic State.

HDP Co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş confirms that the self-proclaimed Islamic State has been plotting to assassinate him.

“We received intelligence from reliable sources that there were plans to plot an assassination against me. We have tried to tighten security and of course share this information with the authorities. But the government is busy protecting ISIL rather than us,” Demirtaş told the press on Wednesday.

According to a statistic released by the IHD (Human Rights Association) branch in Amed (Diyarbakir), Turkish authorities have killed 63 civilians in past 9 months. Turkish police have detained and imprisoned 3,564 people, including 293 children. 788 people, including 41 children, still remain in custody.

Six co-mayors and municipal members in the Kurdish region of Turkey have been suspended from their positions by Turkey’s Ministry of the Interior.

The co-mayors from Hakkari’s Yüksekova district, Batman province, Iğdır’s Tuzluca district, and Hoşhaber town were suspended for reasons cited as “participation in the declaration of self-rule at a press conference on August 13.”

Iraq (Bashur or Southern Kurdistan)

us airstrikes on isis

American F-16s conducting airstrikes on the Islamic State in Iraq.

A wave of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes were carried out on Islamic State bases in Sinjar (Shingal) on Friday. Brigadier General Ezadeen Saddo said that the U.S.-led coalition continuously targeted ISIS military bases to the east and west of Shingal for more than an hour, and that the airstrikes caused heavy casualties among ISIS members.

Teachers in the Kurdistan region of Iraq continue to protest in Sulaymaniyah and Halabja provinces, demanding that the government provide their salaries. Meanwhile, the political standoff among Kurdish parties has not moved towards a solution.

During a meeting with the U.S congressional delegation, Iraqi Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani said, “we will overcome all the crises and [we] can solve our political stalemates.” Delegates from the U.S. met Barzani in his Erbil office on Wednesday, October 14th.

The delegation included U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Stuart E. Jones, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Senator Mike Rounds (R-South Dakota), Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), and Representative Andy Barr (R-Kentucky).

Syria (Rojava or Western Kurdistan)

syrian democratic forces meeting

Syrian Democratic Forces hold a press briefing on October 10th.

The newly-founded Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) released a statement calling for unity among democratic military forces in Syria in order to bring back peace to the country. The SDF called on democratic components of Syria to realize legitimate defense, and to found a national military force for the future of Syria. The Syrian Democratic Forces called on all young women and men in Syria to attend those sides and join its ranks for their country.

Twenty-four Islamic State militants were killed last week, including a commander (or emir), after they attacked Ihris and Cebin villages near Aleppo. According to Syrian Human Rights Watch, a local militia defended the villages, and killed the advancing Islamic State militants.

Kurdish anti-terrorism forces in Jazira Canton carried out a strike on Islamic State sleeper cells in the area. The anti-terrorism forces arrested twelve terrorists, five of whom had suicide bomb capabilities. The Kurdish anti-terrorism forces also seized a number of Improvised Explosive Devices and other explosives.

Iranian Kurdistan (Rojhelat)

Kaiwan Karimi

Kaiwan Karimi is sentenced to six years in prison for including a kissing scene in his film.

On Thursday Oct 15, Iranian security forces detained a number of Kurds in the town of Sine in the Isfahan Province. Iranian security forces and special Islamic agents arrested the Kurds during the local “Dressing Day,” a yearly celebration of Kurdish clothing and culture.

Kurdish film director Kaiwan Karimi has been sentenced to six years of imprisonment by a judge of the 28th branch of Iran’s revolutionary court. Muhammad Moghise, the judge presiding over the ruling, said that Karimi had insulted sacred values by using his films to promote illegitimate relations such as contact through kissing.

In a rare opportunity, Kaiwan Karimi was afforded a phone interview with Rudaw. During the interview, Karimi rejected the accusations and decried his sentencing. “I’ve made a film about the government, social conditions, graffiti on the walls and the working class,” he said. “It is for people to judge my films. I don’t know why I should be punished like this.”

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