KURDISH NEWS WEEKLY BRIEFING, 5 – 11 December 2015

 

PIK Statement on UK bombing of Syria

7 December 2015

Overnight on Thursday 3 December, RAF fighter jets began a bombing campaign in Syria following weeks of battle cries by the British state and media. It paves the way of months and quite possibly years of vast military spending and an inevitable loss of civilian life based on exaggerated claims of an “imminent threat” to the people of Britain.

Peace in Kurdistan Campaign, along with the Kurdish civil society organisations we work with, oppose military intervention by the British government. The action will serve only to further complicate an already inflamed situation in which world and regional powers, including Saudi Arabia, the US, Turkey, Russia and others, are vying for geopolitical strategic advantage and control of Syria’s resources.

Read the rest of the statement here

 

NEWS

  1. Til Temir death toll clarified: 25 killed, 122 wounded
  2. Photos of Destruction in Sur Under Curfew
  3. Kurds plan Syria summit after exclusion from Saudi meet
  4. The Final Resolution Of The Democratic Syria Congress Released
  5. Syria Kurd-Arab coalition creates political wing
  6. Clashes between Syrian fighters pose challenge for Turkey, U.S.
  7. Turkey Intends to Spread Influence in Region by Invading Northern Iraq
  8. Isis terrorists in Iraq and Syria ‘may be using weapons exported to the Middle East by the UK’
  9. Saudi Arabia is playing an increasingly destabilising role in the Middle East, German intelligence warns
  10. Abdullah Öcalan To Be Made Honorary Citizen Of Italian City Palermo
  11. Documentary on Sakine Cansız to meet the audience

 

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

  1. Kurdistan Report interviews Nilufer Koc, Co-Chair of the KNK
  2. Turkey, Kurds and Daesh: An Interview with Salih Muslim
  3. Turkey heading for fascism and war
  4. Turkey sticks its neck out again, this time in Iraq
  5. Erdogan’s dreams of empire are perilous for Turkey
  6. A brief history of ISIS
  7. VIDEO: Public Forum with HDP Co-Chair Figen Yuksekdag: Post-Election Turkey: Is Peace Achievable? 
  8. Western firms primed to cash in on Syria’s oil and gas ‘frontier’

 

STATEMENTS

  1. PIK Statement on UK bombing of Syria
  2. KNK: We Demand Immediate Withdrawal of Turkish Troops from Kurdistan
  3. Rojava administration responds to exclusion from Riyadh talks

 

ACTIONS

  1. Donate money for a school bus for children in the ISIS-destroyed city of Kobane
  2. German-based project raises money for health and social centre in Rojava
  3. Remove the PKK from the government’s list of proscribed terrorist organisations
  4. Early Day Motions on Turkish repression of political dissent – Write to you MP!

 

NEWS

  1. Til Temir death toll clarified: 25 killed, 122 wounded
    11 December 2015 / ANF
    Death toll has been clarified of yesterday’s triple bomb attacks in Til Temir city of West Kurdistan, Rojava. Executives from the autonomous administration today went to Til Temir and examined the scene of attacks by ISIS gangs that targeted three locations at 17:20 Thursday evening. The delegation involved Cizire Canton Co-President Hediye Yusuf, Democratic Autonomous Administration executives Abdulkerim Saruxan, Rezan Gula, Remziye Mehmud and Dijwar Ehmed. Following examinations at the scenes, Cizire Canton Interior Council President Kenan Berekat stated that 25 people lost their lives and 122 others were wounded as a result of the attacks.
  1. Photos of Destruction in Sur Under Curfew
    11 December 2015 / Bianet
    Lifting of curfew lasted 17 hours in Turkey’s southeastern Sur district of Diyarbakır province. Curfew which was in effect as of December 2 in six neighborhoods and one street in Sur was lifted yesterday, on December 10 at 11 p.m. However, another curfew was declared at 4 p.m. today, on December 11. The photos taken during the 17-hour curfew in the district reveal the destruction in the city.
  1. Kurds plan Syria summit after exclusion from Saudi meet
    7 December 2015 / France 24
    Syrian Kurdish factions will host a two-day conference from Tuesday on a vision for Syria’s future, after being excluded from a meeting of opposition groups in Saudi Arabia. Opposition and Kurdish sources said the conference would be held in northeast Syria and include Kurds, the Assyrian Democratic Party, Arab figures and religious leaders from various parts of Syria. Kurdish conference organiser Sihanuk Dibo said political and military forces would meet in Al-Malikiyeh, a town in Syria’s northeastern Hasakeh province.
  1. The Final Resolution Of The Democratic Syria Congress Released
    10 December 2015 / Kurdish Question
    The final resolution of the Democratic Syria Congress (Conference) seeking a resolution to the crisis in Syria has been released.  The congress was held on 8-9 December in Rojava’s Derîk city with the slogan “Towards the building of a free and democratic Syria.” 103 delegates representing Syrian political, military and societal opposition organisations attended the event. Following the decision to establish a Democratic Syrian Assembly to serve as the political representative in Syria of the Syrian Democratic Forces (QSD), participants have determined that the Assembly will be comprised of 42 people.

 

  1. Syria Kurd-Arab coalition creates political wing
    10 December 2015 / Ahram Online
    A Kurdish-Arab coalition fighting the ISIS militants group in northern Syria has announced the creation of a political wing, as momentum builds for a diplomatic solution to the war. The formation of the Syrian Democratic Council was agreed at a two-day conference in the northeastern town of Al-Malikiyeh where participants also discussed the future of the country after more than four years of war. “The participants agreed on the creation of the Syrian Democratic Council, the political branch of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF),” a statement issued at the end of the conference read.
  1. Clashes between Syrian fighters pose challenge for Turkey, U.S.
    6 December 2015 / Yahoo News
    Groups that have received support from the United States or its allies have turned their guns on each other in a northern corner of Syria, highlighting the difficulties of mobilizing forces on the ground against Islamic State. As they fought among themselves before reaching a tenuous ceasefire on Thursday, Islamic State meanwhile edged closer to the town of Azaz that was the focal point of the clashes near the border with Turkey. Combatants on one side are part of a new U.S.-backed alliance that includes a powerful Kurdish militia, and to which Washington recently sent military aid to fight Islamic State.
  1. Turkey Intends to Spread Influence in Region by Invading Northern Iraq
    10 December 2015 / Sputnik News
    On Thursday, Turkey deployed about 150 troops and 25 tanks to northern Iraqi Nineveh province, without Baghdad’s approval, allegedly to help train local soldiers to retake the city of Mosul from the Islamic State (ISIL, or Daesh in Arabic) militant group, outlawed in many countries, including Russia and the United States. Mohammad Nour Eddeen, professor of the Lebanese University, specializing in Turkey, stated that the invasion could lead to the creation of power in the region depending on Ankara.”[Turkey] intend to create the third center of force in Iraq after Baghdad and Erbil. It wants Mosul to [be] liberated by the Sunni Arabs, they want to support them,” Eddeen said.
  1. Isis terrorists in Iraq and Syria ‘may be using weapons exported to the Middle East by the UK’
    8 December 2015 / Independent
    Isis terrorists operating in Iraq and Syria may be using weapons exported to the Middle East by the UK, according to a new report. Assault weapons and small arms sent from Britain to Iraq in the wake of the 2003 invasion may have ended up in the hands of the militant Islamic group, the research carried out by human rights organisation Amnesty International says. Drawing on expert analysis of thousands of videos and images, the report concludes that IS fighters have access to a “substantial arsenal” of arms and ammunition designed or manufactured in more than 25 countries. Their weapons include US military issue M16 rifles, Austrian and Russian sniper rifles and Chinese and Belgian machine guns, it says.
  1. Saudi Arabia is playing an increasingly destabilising role in the Middle East, German intelligence warns
    7 November 2015 / Independent
    German intelligence has warned that Saudi Arabia is playing an increasingly destabilising role in the Middle East. The country’s foreign intelligence agency, known as the BND, released a memo to select journalists warning of the negative effects the game of thrones being played within Saudi Arabia’s royal family could cause. “The cautious diplomatic stance of the older leading members of the royal family is being replaced by an impulsive policy of intervention,” said the memo, seen by the New York TImes.
  1. Abdullah Öcalan To Be Made Honorary Citizen Of Italian City Palermo
    10 December 2015 / Kurdish Question
    The Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan, who has been held in solitary confinement on an island prison in Turkey for the past 16 years, is to be made an honorary citizen of the Italian city Palermo. The fifth largest city in Italy, Palermo is also the sister city of Kobane, which resisted and defeated ISIS gangs in January 2015 after months of fighting. There will be a demonstration and public meeting in the preceding days to show solidarity with the Kurdish people, ending with the ceremony for Öcalan’s honorary citizenship on 14th December.  
  1. Documentary on Sakine Cansız to meet the audience
    10 December 2015 / Kurdish Info
    Trailer of the “My whole life was a struggle” documentary on Sakine Cansız (Sara), a PKK co-founder killed in Paris in January 2013, has been released. The documentary is named after Cansız’s book “My whole life was a struggle” which summarizes her 55 years of struggle in the Kurdish armed movement. Women’s teams have been working on the documentary in Turkey-North Kurdistan, South Kurdistan and Europe since May of 2013. The documentary was directed by Dersim Zêrevan, a student of the guerrilla director Halil Uysal, and produced by Bircan Delal Yıldız, Elif Engil Şimşek and Şehbal Şenyurt.

 
COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

  1. Kurdistan Report interviews Nilufer Koc, Co-Chair of the KNK
    10 December 2015 / Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
    Here, Nilüfer Koç, Co-chair of the KNK is interviewed for the latest issue of the Kurdistan Report, a bimonthly publication produced in Germany, about the 15th General Assembly Meeting of the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK). This is a translation of the German original.
    You held your general assembly meeting at a period favourable for the Kurds in the Middle East. How did this affect your meeting?
    The political and social developments of the last year once more have been reflected on our 15th General Assembly Meeting. The countless successes against the Islamic State (IS) in Rojava [kurd.: Western; Western Kurdistan/North Syria] and Başur [kurd.: Southern; Southern Kurdistan/North Iraq], Abdullah Öcalan’s three years long political struggle of negotiations with the Turkish AKP (Justice and Development Party) government, the consolidation of the democratic autonomy in Rojava and the increasing international political interest in Kurdistan were the significant common denominators of the debates.
  1. Turkey, Kurds and Daesh: An Interview with Salih Muslim
    5 December 2015 / Pravda
    Who is the Islamic State trading oil with? Which is the current situation on the fronts? And which threat does Turkey pose to the world? Pravda.Ru conducted an interview with Salih Muslim, leader of the main political group of the Syrian Kurds.
    – Sherko Jawdat, chairman of the Kurdistan Parliament’s Energy Committee, made a rebuttal Thursday and said that the oil tankers shown in the aerial photos and footage presented by Russia as evidence of the alleged trade are in fact carrying oil from Kurdistan to Turkey. How do you assess such claims?
    – We know, there were a lot of oil fields under the control of Daesh, salafists, which are in the whole area and maybe Tel Hamis and others. We knew that this oil is going to us maybe through those traders. It’s not officially, of course.
  1. Turkey heading for fascism and war
    7 December 2015 / RCG
    President Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) government are driving Turkey towards fascism and war. The 24 November 2015 shooting down of a Russian bomber was planned at the highest levels of the Turkish state. Since the AKP’s electoral victory on 1 November Kurdish towns and cities in Turkey’s south east have been put under curfew and military siege. Turkish jets daily bomb Kurds in Iraq and its army shells the People’s Protection Units (YPG and YPJ) in Rojava, northern Syria. Scores of people have been arrested, imprisoned and killed across Turkey for opposing the murderous state. Erdogan and the AKP are a threat not just to the Kurdish and Turkish people – they are a danger to us all. Trevor Rayne reports.
  1. Turkey sticks its neck out again, this time in Iraq
    7 December 2015 / Al Monitor
    In its second incredibly controversial move in as many weeks, Turkey drew Baghdad’s wrath over the weekend by dispatching uninvited reinforcement troops to Iraq. While Turkey said the move was merely routine, Baghdad called it a “violation of sovereignty” and told Ankara it had 48 hours to get those troops out. Turkey has since said it will send no more troops but has not withdrawn any soldiers.
    Ankara deployed the troops to the Bashiqa area of Iraq, just north of Mosul, the night of Dec. 4 — less than two weeks after Turkey downed a Russian warplane Nov. 24 near the Turkish-Syrian border.
  1. Erdogan’s dreams of empire are perilous for Turkey
    6 December 2015 / Guardian
    The aggressiveness of Turkish foreign policy is something new. It goes back to 2009 when, at Davos, President Erdoğan insulted Shimon Peres, then Israel’s president, using the Turkish form of “you” that is normally used for dogs, and accusing him of atrocities in Gaza. That went down very well with his home constituency, less well with Turks who think about things, and it also went down well in the Arab world. Erdoğan was lionised, and cut a big figure in the Arab spring that followed. In particular he tried to bring about change in Syria, and was much put out when President Assad did not respond to his urgings for reform, a reform that would have applied some version of Erdoğan’s own “Muslim democracy”. Expecting Assad to fall, he did nothing to stop the civil war that then erupted, and gave a hospitable welcome to more than 2 million refugees who flooded over the border.
  1. A brief history of ISIS
    3 December 2015 / Jacobin
    In the wake of the November 13 attacks in Paris, much of the Left has linked the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to the deepening imperialist violence in the Middle East. War and imperialism, on one side, and the growing reach of jihadist terrorism, on the other, are said to be locked together in a mutually reinforcing embrace of violence and destruction. “Imperialist cruelty and Islamist cruelty feed each other,” the French Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste (NPA) argued shortly after the Paris attacks. In order to break this nihilistic death grip, we need to oppose foreign intervention, put an end to imperialist violence, and halt the ongoing plunder of wealth from countries in the Middle East, Africa, and elsewhere.
  1. VIDEO: Public Forum with HDP Co-Chair Figen Yuksekdag: Post-Election Turkey: Is Peace Achievable? 
    5 December 2015 / Vimeo
    Co-Chair of Turkey’s second biggest opposition party, the HDP, Ms Figen Yuksekdag speaks about the developments over the last two years and address the HDP’s strategies for peaceful reconciliation in Turkey at a recent event in central London. This event was organised by Refugee Workers Cultural Association (RWCA) in partnership with the Centre for Turkey Studies (CEFTUS) and the Centre for Kurdish Progress in The House of Commons, London on 30 November 2015.
  1. Western firms primed to cash in on Syria’s oil and gas ‘frontier’
    1 December 2015 / Insurge Intelligence
    US, British, French, Israeli and other energy interests could be prime beneficiaries of military operations in Iraq and Syria designed to rollback the power of the ‘Islamic State’ (ISIS) and, potentially, the Bashar al-Assad regime. A study for a global oil services company backed by the French government and linked to Britain’s Tory-led administration, published during the height of the Arab Spring, hailed the significant “hydrocarbon potential” of Syria’s offshore resources.


STATEMENTS
 

  1. PIK Statement on UK bombing of Syria, 7 December 2015.
  1. We Demand Immediate Withdrawal of Turkish Troops from KurdistanKNK Statement, 6 December 2015.  
  1. Rojava administration responds to exclusion from Riyadh talks, 6 December 2015.

ACTIONS

  1. Donate money for a school bus for children in the ISIS-destroyed city of Kobane
    Help Kobane
    In the wake of ongoing brutal attacks by ISIS, the city of Kobane in the Kurdish region of northern Syria (Rojava), has been completely devastated.  The infrastructure has been totally destroyed, and the population has paid an extremely high price.  However, the people of Kobane desperately want to stay and rebuild their city.  Children are the most vulnerable group affected – hundreds are now orphaned, having lost their parents to the fight against ISIS, and they live in desperate conditions, with many in refugee camps.  These children are denied basic humanitarian aid such as healthcare, housing, and education due to the ongoing violence.  Currently, there is only one preschool in Kobane, but many children must walk over an hour each way in order to attend.  In order to help provide education for these young orphans, Stichting Help Kobane is asking for your help.
    DONATE HERE
  1. German-based project raises money for health and social centre in Rojava
    Solitariät International
    “Assist us – 150.000€ for the ecological arrangement of a health and social center in Kobane as a model for the ecological rebuilding of the Region. The city of Kobanê in Rojava (West Kurdistan / Syria) disengaged itself in January 2015 by / under big sacrifices from the Fascist powers of the IS (“Islamic State”). The IS left a trace of destruction behind itself. 80% of Kobane is still destroyed today. The new local community, which the Syrian- Kurdish population builds up in Rojava, is a prototype for the whole Middle East. It puts into practice equality for all people, democracy, religious freedom, equal rights for women and men and the unity of mankind and nature as a guideline of the sociological development.”
    DETAILS OF HOW TO DONATE HERE
  1. Remove the PKK from the government’s list of proscribed terrorist organisations
    UK Parliamentary Petition
    The PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) is fighting Daesh/Isis on the ground, defending Kurdish and other communities from its barbarism. It is proving extraordinarily militarily effective.
    The UK should be supporting the PKK, not proscribing it.
    The PKK rescued thousands of Yazidi civilians threatened with genocide in 2014. Its sister organisation the YPG has protected Christian communities in Syria. The PKK’s strategy is to pursue peace talks while encouraging democracy in Kurdish areas. They embrace women’s rights and oppose every aspect of the reactionary ideology of Daesh/Isis.
    SIGN HERE
  1. Early Day Motions on Turkish repression of political dissent – Write to you MP!
    Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
    There are currently two Early Day Motions (EDMs) tabled in Parliament that we are encouraging MP’s to sign: Freedom of Expression in Turkey and Curfew on the city of Silvan. The EDM’s are useful for challenging the Government and getting issues onto MP’s agendas.  We want to get as many MP’s sign as we can to sign these EDM’s and need your help to lobby your local MP to sign their name. You can find out who your MP is here: http://www.writetothem.com. We have also drafted a model letter which you can use, available at the link below.
    Please do what you can to lobby your MP today!

 

 

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