- On Thursday, December 29, The Iranian regime arrested dozens of Kurdish human rights and social media activists for links to banned Kurdish parties. Halmand Mihemendi, a Kurdish political activist and former prisoner in Iran, told ARA News that most of the arrestees are being tortured regardless of the charge.
- French President François Hollande visited Kurdistan region and met with its President Massud Barzani. Hollande visited to the front lines of the Peshmerga forces fighting ISIS, he said:” It would not be possible to defeat Daesh without the sacrifices of the Peshmerga.” During his Presidency, Hollande visited Kurdistan region twice to express support for the Kurds in their fight against ISIS.
- Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim will visit Iraq and Kurdistan region according to his deputy. The visit will aim to “new period with the Iraq’s government.” The visit will also discuss the presence of the Turkish forces in Bashiqa east of Mosul.
- On January 3, Kirkuk governor Najmaldin Karim received Mosul governor Nofel Hamadi Akup. According to a statement issued by Kirkuk governorate, both sides discussed the liberation of Mosul and aiding the internally displaced people (IDP) in the liberated areas. Currently, Kirkuk Province is hosting 500 thousand IDP from Nineveh, Salahuddin, Diyala and Al Anbar provinces.
- People’s Defense Units (YPG) released a statement about attacks by the Turkish army on areas east of Kobani. The statement said that four villages east of Kobani had been bombarded with heavy weaponry on December 30, 2016. On another front, the Turkish military and within “Euphrates Shield” bombarded two villages near Al-Armia town west of Manbij. The bombards killed three civilians and wounded 15 more.
- The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continues to push ISIS back toward Raqqa city. The SDF liberated110 villages since the start of phase two of an offensive to liberate the province from ISIS. On January 3, the SDF liberated three more villages while the operation continues from four different fronts.
- In a most recent interview, Salih Muslim the Co-President of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) stressed the “necessity of coordination between the Kurdish political powers” to hold a national conference. Muslim described the ongoing conflicts in the region as “existence or non-existence for us as Kurds.”
- The Turkish authorities shut down the Istanbul Kurdish Institute, a Kurdish think tank that was founded in 1992 by several intellectuals to conduct researches about the Kurdish culture, language, and literature. Two more Kurdish schools shut down by the government in October after it was opened in 2013.
- More Kurdish officials were removed from their positions last week. Dersim Municipality Deputy Co-mayor Huseyin Tunch was removed from office by appointed trustee. Hundreds of elected Kurdish local officials have been removed from their positions since July 15, 2016, while 11 HDP deputies remain in prison.
- The jailed Co-chairs of People’s Democratic Party (HDP) released a joint letter for the New Year. Figen Yuksekdag and Selahattin Demirtash said: “We are leaving behind a year which witnessed pain, tears, and deaths but at the same time a struggle and resistance” the Co-chairs wished for peace to prevails” We know that good day lie ahead of us. We will struggle in order for 2017 to be a year when the forces of democracy, peace, labor, freedom and equality stand and progress together” HDP Co-chairs wrote.