After weeks of Kurdish officials being detained as well as the stripping of pro-Kurdish deputies’ parliamentary immunities, the Turkish government arrested ten deputies from the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), including both co-chairs of the party. On Thursday, November 3, HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtash tweeted that Turkish police were in his home and in the process of detaining him. These recent arrests of HDP deputies resulted in strong worldwide public outcry and rejection. Countries and international organizations around the world, including the United States and the European Union, denounced the Turkish government’s arrests. The Washington Kurdish Institute (WKI) learned from the HDP representative to Washington, DC that since July 15, 2016, more than 100 Kurdish politicians and activists have been arrested by Turkish authorities. Following the HDP arrests, thousands of people protested the Turkish government in Istanbul and the Kurdish provinces. Turkey’s President Rejab Tayib Erdogan said: “I don’t care if they call me a dictator.”
On November 6, The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced the launch of a military campaign to liberate Raqqa, the capital of ISIS. The liberation operation will include a majority of Arab factions within the SDF. Since the start of the operation, the SDF has made advances toward the city of Raqqa. The SDF are 20 miles away from the city center after liberating Tal Abyad last year. The SDF called the operation “Euphrates Rage” and announced that the Turkish-backed Islamic groups would not join the operation based on a previous deal with the U.S.-led coalition. In another development between Kurdish forces and Turkey, on Monday the Turkish military bombed People’s Defense Units (YPG) positions in Hasakah province, according to a Kurdish official.
On Monday, November 8, Peshmerga forces completely cleared the town of Bashiqa from ISIS, east of Mosul. The U.S.-led coalition air support assisted the Peshmerga’s operation to clear the town from ISIS remnants. The town of Bashiqa will be the last point of advance for Peshmerga forces.
Police forces in Kirkuk city arrested six terrorists from an ISIS cell which had collected information before the deadly attack on October 21.
The Kurdistan Regional Government head of the department of Foreign Affairs rejected earlier comments by Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi, a military adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Safavi said that the Iraqi Kurds are helping the Saudi consulate in Iraq to supply weapons to Iranian anti-revolutionary forces and he warned them in this regard as they should know that they owe their existence to Iran. However, he did not present any proof to support these claims.