- The Turkish authorities have launched a new wave of arrests against Kurdish officials. Aysel Tugluk a prominent Kurdish politician and the Deputy Co-chair of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) has been arrested on terrorism charges. In Bitlis Province and after detaining three Co-mayors of districts, the Turkish government assigned trustees to replace the elected Kurdish officials. In Urfa, the government is still holding 210 Kurdish activists and members of political parties in a sports hall in since December 12, while their trials time is unknowns. Five more Kurdish Co-mayors of districts in Siirt province have also been jailed for “aiding and abetting a terrorist organization.” The government launched a wave of arrests against 433 filmmakers for signing a petition against war and in support of peace negotiations. Hundreds of elected Kurdish mayors are jailed on similar charges since July 15, 2016.
- In solidarity move against the arrest of both Co-chairs of People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and members of Turkey’s Kurdish deputies, 382 parliamentarians of the European Parliament, national, and local councils in European countries have formed committees to travel to Turkey and visit the jailed HDP deputies. Previously the Turkish government denied visit requests to European delegations. The Campaign launched last week.
- The U.S. backed forces of People’s Defense People (YPG) announced that Turkey’s military once again targeted their position with mortars in the west of Kobani and Derek. The statement said” the Turkish army fired at the villages Ziyaret and Celoglu in western Kobani” and “On December 21, at 20:30, the Turkish army attacked the village Habil Hewa in Derik with heavy weapons, causing damage to few civilian homes”.
- The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) made advances in the operation “Wrath of Euphrates” to liberate ISIS de facto capital Raqqa. After heavy clashes, the SDF surrounded Tabqa Dam On Monday evening the SDF liberated the strategic town of Jaaber which was an important outlet for ISIS logistics from Raqqa city. The SDF announced the death of more than 60 ISIS fighters in the past week in the offensive. Phase two of Operation “Wrath of Euphrates “launched two weeks ago.
- In an interview, Elham Ahmed, the Co-president of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) said that the Moscow summit is one sided and the sides that Russia, Iran, and Turkey are willing to strengthen Syria’s regime. Ahmad doubted the outcomes would offer a solution for Syria’s people.
- A delegation from Benelux visited the Kurdistan region and met with its Prime Minister Naichervan Barzani and Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani. The delegation included Foreign Ministers of Belgium Netherland and Luxembourg. The delegation stressed “the need for a comprehensive plan agreed by Baghdad, Erbil, and the coalition countries to sustain peace and stability when the country is recovered from ISIS’ control. This would involve reconstruction of war-torn areas and confidence building among Iraq’s ethnic and religious groups.” They also praised the Kurdistan region for hosting a large number of refugees and internally displaced people.
- The Political Bureau Executive Body of the Patriot Union of Kurdistan (PUK) held a meeting in Sulaymaniyah city on December 25. High members of PUK discussed the internal issues of the party and called for reunification with Change Party (Gorran). Since May of 2016, PUK and Gorran formed a joint leadership committee, but they struggled to continue the meetings due to internal disagreements in both parties.
- On December 20, a twin bomb targeted the headquarters of the Democratic Party of Kurdistan of Iran (KDP-I) in Koya town north of Sulaymaniyah city. The attack resulted in the death of five KDP-I Peshmergas and two members of Koya’s Asayesh (Public Security). KDP-I party accused Iranian regime of the bombs and its leader Khalid Azizi said:” we won’t respond with terrorism to the attack.” Azizi also said: “The Islamic Republic of Iran wants to spoil the tranquility of the region [Kurdistan region].” The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and five major political parties in the reign denounced the attacks and described it as “terrorist act.” On December 26, the security forces arrested two suspects linked to the attack while the main suspect is on the run according to a statement released by Asayesh.