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The Kurdish Situation Report: October 26th, 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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Points of Interest for October 26th 2015

Points of Interest for October 26th 2015

Turkey (Bakur or Northern Kurdistan)

Turkish police and soldiers raid a house in the Kurdish region of Turkey.

Turkish police and soldiers raid a house in the Kurdish region of Turkey.

1) Turkish jets have renewed bombing campaigns along Turkey’s southern border with Iraqi Kurdistan. Turkey’s airstrikes are targeting Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) positions in the mountains along the border. The town of Dirlok was hit, which is near the city of Amedi, in the Duhok Governorate of Iraqi Kurdistan.

2) 42 people have been detained, and six more remain in custody after Turkish government security forces conducted house raids in four cities throughout the Kurdish region of Turkey.

The house raids occurred in the Kurdish-majority cities of Mus, Van, Sirnak, and Siirt. They come just one week before the Turkish government holds “early” parliamentary elections on November 1st. The upcoming elections were called after the Turkish parliament failed to form a coalition government in the wake of June’s parliamentary elections.

3) In an interview with Anadolu Agency, Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) head Hakan Fidan said, “ISIS is a reality and we have to accept that we cannot eradicate a well-organized and popular establishment such as the Islamic State. It is imperative that ISIS set up a consulate, or at least a political office in Istanbul.”

Fidan’s statement comes after some have accused the Turkish government of collaborating with the self-proclaimed Islamic State, or at the very least, have turned a blind eye to ISIS’ campaign of terror in Syria and Iraq.

Iraq (Bashur or Southern Kurdistan)

School-aged children in Iraqi Kurdistan.

School-aged children in Iraqi Kurdistan.

4) Kurdish Peshmerga forces repelled an attack by ISIS terrorists on Khazer, a town in Northern Iraq, on Oct 23rd, 2015. The offense by ISIS also targeted the Qaraj sub-district in the town of Makhmour, west of Erbil.

U.S.-led coalition airstrikes hit an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL trench near Makhmour, while Peshmerga forces resisted the ISIS offensive, and did not cede any ground to the terrorists.

5) Despite the recent political impasse, a new channel of dialogue has been opened between two of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)’s political parties. According to NRT, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Gorran — one of Iraqi Kurdistan’s opposition parties– held talks this week.

During the talks, the KDP announced that it would be open to the return of Gorran’s ministers to the KRG cabinet, but demanded that the Speaker of the Parliament– a Gorran nominee– be removed.

6) The Kirkuk provincial government and the Kirkuk Provincial Council announced its decision to reject several rulings handed down by Iraq’s Ministry of the Interior. Earlier last week, the Ministry of the Interior attempted to dismiss and reassign a number of high ranking police officers including Kirkuk’s chief of police and his deputy.

Kirkuk Governor Dr. Najmaldin Karim and acting speaker of the Provincial Council Rebwar Talabani held a press conference on October 22nd, announcing their rejection of the changes made by Iraq’s Ministry of the Interior concerning the police force.

7) Iraqi Kurdistan’s Minister of Education, Pishtewan Sadiq, announced a total of 200,000 new students in Iraqi Kurdistan who are refugees from Syria, or Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Iraq.

Sadiq claims that these additional students have triggered a long-standing need to overhaul the education system, which he said “will take time, but it will happen.”

Many have criticized the education system in Iraqi Kurdistan, which was established in the early 2000s, and is based on the Swedish education model.

Syria (Rojava or Western Kurdistan)

YPG and YPJ repel ISIS attack in Tell Brak

YPG and YPJ repel ISIS attack in Tell Brak.

8) The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Kurdish Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) repelled an attack by ISIS terrorists on Wednesday, October 21st.

The attack occurred in Tell Brak, home to a large archeological excavation site, near the city of Qamshilo in Rojava’s Jazira, or Cizîrê‎ canton.

9) An ISIS suicide bomber captured by Syrian Kurds said that he crossed into Syria from Turkey, via “a path opened for ISIS.”

Mahmut Gazi Tatar said that it was “easy” to cross into Syria from Turkey, and that he and his group of fighters had faced no opposition from any Turkish soldiers.

10) Salih Muslim, co-chair of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), was quoted as saying that the Kurds are now in diplomatic conversations with all major world powers.

Muslim promised that these talks would lead to the opening of missions in Moscow, Berlin and Paris. Muslim attributed the success of Rojava’s Democratic Autonomous Administration, also known as TEV-DEM, to the struggle and efforts made by the Kurdish people in political, military and diplomatic arena.

Rojava’s Democratic Autonomous Administration is the de-facto government for three “cantons” or regions in northern Syria; Cizîrê‎, Kobani, and Efrîn.

Iran (Rojhelat or Eastern Kurdistan)

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

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

11) Several schools have been shut down in the Kurdish-majority province of Mahabad. Locals claim that the schools were shut down as retaliation for local water projects that had been created to supply the schools and local Kurdish areas.

While the new school year has started in the rest of the country, Kurds in Iran continue to express their frustration with the Iranian government for preventing public service projects, and accused the Iranian regime for ignoring the Kurdish areas of the country.

12) A report obtained from Sanandaj Prison, in the provincial capital of Rojhelat (also known as Eastern Kurdistan), shows that four prisoners, all of whom were arrested under the age of 18, have been sentenced to death.

According to this report, the prisoners are: Youssef Mohammadi, 20, arrested at age 14. Himan Ourami-Nejad, 18, arrested at age 17. Amanj Hosseini, arrested at age 17. Siavosh Mahmoudi, 20, arrested at age 17. Mahmoudi claims to have committed murder in self-defense against rape.

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