KURDISH NEWS WEEKLY BRIEFING, 20 – 23 DECEMBER 2016

NEWS
1. Kurds Vital for Syrian Conflict Solution – European Syriac Union’s Member
2. Syrian Kurds Condemn Killing of Russian Ambassador in Turkey
3. Thousands evacuated from last rebel enclave in Aleppo
4. US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces expel ISIS from 97 villages in western Raqqa
5. ISIS jihadists burn four men to death on charges of supporting Kurdish forces
6. Civilians caught in crossfire in Mosul as fighting intensifies between ISIS and Iraqi forces
7. Isis ‘offers $1m reward’ for murder of woman who dropped out of university to fight them
8. Suspected Turkish spy ‘thought to have planned Kurdish murders’: report
DOCUMENTS, REPORTS
1. The vortex of violence drags the country into turmoil
2. Report on Women in Local Administrations and Appointment of Trustees to the Municipalities
ACTION
1. Open Letter to Times – Please let us know if you would like to add your name..
2. Open Letter to Guardian
3. Petition:
CALL FOR THE RELEASE OF STUDENTS ARBITRARILY DETAINED IN TURKEY

BOOK REVIEW
Revolution in Rojava: Democratic Autonomy and Women’s Liberation in Syrian Kurdistan.

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NEWS
1. Kurds Vital for Syrian Conflict Solution – European Syriac Union’s Member
21 December/Sputnik News
The international community has backed a number of rounds of negotiations between Damascus and numerous Syrian opposition groups in order to settle the ongoing political process in the country. The Russian side has repeatedly called for participation of the Kurdish representatives in such talks, however none of them have been invited to the intra-Syrian negotiations yet.
https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201612211048852260-kurds-vital-syria-solution/

2. Syrian Kurds Condemn Killing of Russian Ambassador in Turkey
20 December/Sputnik News
The Syrian Democratic Council is an umbrella body involved in governing the de-facto autonomous Federation of Northern Syria — Rojava. It is the political wing of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces currently engaged with terrorists in Syria.
https://sputniknews.com/politics/201612201048770920-syrian-kurds-condemn-envoy-killing/

3. Thousands evacuated from last rebel enclave in Aleppo
22 December/ARA News
The final evacuations from eastern Aleppo have begun. Eight buses and more than 80 cars left the city’s last rebel enclave on Wednesday, bound for Idlib Governorate.
http://aranews.net/2016/12/thousands-evacuated-from-last-rebel-enclave-in-aleppo/

4. US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces expel ISIS from 97 villages in western Raqqa
21 December/ARA News
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have continued to make rapid progress in their campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS). The pluralist coalition announced on Tuesday that -in just ten days- they had captured 97 villages in western Raqqa Governorate.
http://aranews.net/2016/12/us-backed-syrian-democratic-forces-expel-isis-from-97-villages-west-raqqa/

5. ISIS jihadists burn four men to death on charges of supporting Kurdish forces
21 December/ARA News
The Islamic State (ISIS) burned four civilians to death on Tuesday, shocking the inhabitants of Deir ez-Zor city. The unfortunate men had been charged with supporting the “Kurdish atheists,” apostasy and treason.
http://aranews.net/2016/12/isis-jihadists-burn-four-men-to-death-on-charges-of-supporting-kurdish-ypg/

6. Civilians caught in crossfire in Mosul as fighting intensifies between ISIS and Iraqi forces
22 December/ARA News
Extremists of the Islamic State (ISIS) are deliberately targeting civilians who refuse to join them in Mosul city, in Iraq’s northwestern Nineveh Governorate, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported on Wednesday.
http://aranews.net/2016/12/civilians-caught-in-crossfire-in-mosul-as-fighting-intensifies-between-isis-and-iraqi-forces/

7. Isis ‘offers $1m reward’ for murder of woman who dropped out of university to fight them
19 December/The Independent
“How can I pose a threat to Denmark and other countries by being a soldier in an official army that Denmark trains and supports directly in the fight against [Isis]?” she posted on Facebook shortly after her passport was confiscated.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-offers-1m-reward-for-murder-of-woman-who-dropped-out-of-university-to-fight-them-a7484461.html

8. Suspected Turkish spy ‘thought to have planned Kurdish murders’: report
19 December/DW. com
A suspected spy from Turkey’s intelligence agency who was detained in the northern German city of Hamburg on Thursday is thought to have planned the killing of two high-ranking Kurds in Europe, the German tabloid “Bild” reported on its website.
http://www.dw.com/en/suspected-turkish-spy-thought-to-have-planned-kurdish-murders-report/a-36821737

OPINION, COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS
1. Turkey’s Misdiagnosed Kurdish Problem
20 December/Gatestone Institute
Turkey’s Kurdish problem is not a military one. On the contrary, the military aspect of the problem is the consequence, not the root cause. Turkey’s Kurds have been demanding a homeland since the 19th century — long before the modern Turkish state was born in 1923.
https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/9596/turkey-kurdish-problem

2. PROXY WARS AND THE TRAGEDY OF SYRIA
18 December/Black Star News
Aleppo–not the only part of Syria in ruins, Syria is Turkey’s and Saudi Arabia’s disaster.
For years they have openly supported war in that embattled country. What started as an uprising against Bashar Assad’s despotism was quickly hijacked by the outside world, especially Turkey, Saudia Arabia and Qatar.
http://www.blackstarnews.com/global-politics/middle-east/proxy-wars-and-the-tragedy-of-syria.html

3. The Media Are Misleading the Public on Syria
18 December/ Assyrian International News Agency
Coverage of the Syrian war will be remembered as one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the American press. Reporting about carnage in the ancient city of Aleppo is the latest reason why.
For three years, violent militants have run Aleppo. Their rule began with a wave of repression. They posted notices warning residents: “Don’t send your children to school. If you do, we will get the backpack and you will get the coffin.” Then they destroyed factories, hoping that unemployed workers would have no recourse other than to become fighters. They trucked looted machinery to Turkey and sold it.
http://www.aina.org/news/20161218162355.htm

4. Turkey’s entanglement in Syria sparks violence, assassination at home
21 December/Al Monitor
Turkey was dizzy with the twin bombings that rocked the city center of Istanbul on Dec. 11 and took 45 lives. Before recovering from that trauma, the country was shaken again in less than a week with another terror attack. This time the target was off-duty soldiers in the central Anatolian province of Kayseri.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/12/turkey-syria-spillover-effects-violence-assasination.html#ixzz4TbaiyvOs

5. Discovering Syria’s ‘real revolution’: In conversation with PYD co-chair Salih Muslim
19 December/Common Space
SCOTLAND has just received a first visit from Salih Muslim, co-chair of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the main political party in Rojava, the majority Kurdish autonomous region in North Syria.
https://www.commonspace.scot/articles/10058/discovering-syria-s-real-revolution-conversation-pyd-co-chair-salih-muslim

6. Turkish media accuses Belgian MP of supporting PKK
20 December/ARA News
Zuhal Demir, a Belgian MP for the New Flemish Alliance (NV-A), was depicted by the Turkish state media as a supporter of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) amidst ongoing tensions in Turkey and accusations by Turkey that Europe is not doing enough to combat the PKK.
http://aranews.net/2016/12/turkish-media-accuses-belgian-mp-of-supporting-pkk/

7. Turkey, Russia and an Assassination: The Swirling Crises, Explained
19 December/The New York Times
Turkey and Russia, whose up-and-down relationship has helped shape the Syrian war and its related crises, shared a new trauma on Monday after an off-duty Turkish police officer assassinated Russia’s ambassador.
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/19/world/europe/what-happened-turkey-russia-assassination-analysis.html?_r=0

8. The Kurds, a Courageous and Daring Nation
21 December/NRT
The Kurds, who are widely considered to be the largest population without a state have today caught the attention of the world, in particular the West and political superpowers. Located in the Middle East and distributed by the former British and French colonial powers in the aftermath of World War One, the Kurds inhabit Iraq, Syria, Iran and Turkey – the four countries that Kurdistan was split up and given to. Fortunately, there exists an autonomous Kurdistan in Iraqi Kurdistan possessing its own government, parliament and president.
http://www.nrttv.com/en/birura-details.aspx?Jimare=4515

9. VIDEO: ‘US relations with Kurdistan solid, strong’
24 November/Kurdistan 24
Amid all the political tension and war in the Middle East, the US-Kurdish relationship remains “solid,” according to a Middle East expert.
http://www.kurdistan24.net/en/Analysis/ac0d6064-4553-4154-b021-5effb31d3e3a/VIDEO–‘US-relations-with-Kurdistan-solid–strong’ <http://www.kurdistan24.net/en/Analysis/ac0d6064-4553-4154-b021-5effb31d3e3a/VIDEO–%E2%80%98US-relations-with-Kurdistan-solid–strong%E2%80%99>

DOCUMENTS, REPORTS
1. The vortex of violence drags the country into turmoil <https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2016/12/21/the-vortex-of-violence-drags-the-country-into-turmoil/>
21 December/Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
After the attack in Istanbul on 10 December and the blast of Kayseri this Saturday that resulted in many deaths and injuries, and which was harshly condemned by the HDP Central Executive Board, the Erdogan-AKP government has mobilized ultra-nationalist discourses to shape public opinion and avoid responsibility for their deadlocked internal politics.
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2016/12/21/the-vortex-of-violence-drags-the-country-into-turmoil/

2. Report on Women in Local Administrations and Appointment of Trustees to the Municipalities
21 December/Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
Authoritarian tendencies of the current government in Turkey have reached new heights after two important turning points; namely the end of the peace negotiations with the Kurdish movement in July 2015 and the coup attempt on 15 July 2016. During this period, all liberties including right to live are repeatedly violated by the Turkish state.
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2016/12/21/report-on-women-in-local-administrations-and-appointment-of-trustees-to-the-municipalities/

ACTION
1. Open Letter to Times – Please let us know if you would like to add your name..
23 December/Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
Peace in Kurdistan is a voluntary organisation formed in 1994 by the late Lord Avebury, the playwright Harold Pinter and several other leading writers and journalists with the objective of campaigning for a peaceful political solution to the Kurdish Question, as is stated in its title.
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2016/12/23/open-letter-to-the-times/

2. Open Letter to Guardian
23 December/Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
As a matter of urgency we draw readers’ attention to the plight of the ten Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MPs gaoled since early November 2016 by the Turkish government. In particular, we call for action by the British government, parliamentarians and democratic bodies over the life-threatening conditions in which the HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtas is being held.
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2016/12/23/open-letter-to-the-guardian/

3. Petition: CALL FOR THE RELEASE OF STUDENTS ARBITRARILY DETAINED IN TURKEY -Still open for signatures.
23 December/Peace In Kurdistan Campaign
TO THE GOVERNMENT, JUDICIAL AUTHORITIES, UNIVERSITIES, DEANS & LECTURERS IN TURKEY
We are deeply concerned that approximately 400 students are being held in arbitrary detention in Turkey. Pre- trial detention should only be used as a matter of last resort, as an exceptional practice, however, now in Turkey it is now used as a matter of course and, in effect, as a method of punishment without trial.
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2016/12/23/call-for-the-release-of-students-arbitrarily-detained-in-turkey/

BOOK REVIEW
Revolution in Rojava: Democratic Autonomy and Women’s Liberation in Syrian Kurdistan. London Pluto Press. Review by Patrick Huff.
http://www.interfacejournal.net/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Interface-8-2-Reviews.pdf


Peace in Kurdistan
Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question
Email: estella24@tiscali.co.uk <estella24@tiscali.co.uk>
http://www.peaceinkurdistancampaign.com
Contacts Estella Schmid 020 7586 5892 & Melanie Gingell – Tel: 020 7272 7890
Fax: 020 7263 0596

Patrons: Lord Rea, Lord Dholakia, Baroness Sarah Ludford, Jill Evans MEP, Jean Lambert MEP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Hywel Williams MP, Kate Osamor MP, Elfyn Llwyd, Dafydd Iwan, Former President Plaid Cymru, Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy, John Austin, Christine Blower, NUT International Secretary,  Simon Dubbins, UNITE International Director, Doug Nicholls, General Secretary, General Federations of Trade Unions, Bruce Kent, Gareth Peirce, Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, John Berger, James Kelman, Margaret Owen OBE, Prof Mary Davis, Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Mark Thomas, Nick Hildyard, Stephen Smellie, Derek Wall, Melanie Gingell, Steve Sweeney

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