- The Kurdish opposition of the Democratic Party of Kurdistan (KDP) elected a new leader after the general secretary Khalid Azizi resigned last month. Mostafa Mouloudi former deputy of Azizi was elected to take over the Kurdish party. On December 21, 2016, a twin bombs target the headquarters of Iran’s KDP in Iraqi Kurdistan resulting in the death of 7 members of the party.
- The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of Iraq released a statement denouncing Mohammad Rajabi, the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), for his recent remarks questioning the presence of about 30 international consulates in Arbil. Rajabi had also stated that the Saudi consulate should leave the Kurdistan region. The KRG statement said that “no one is entitled to request that a consulate be closed in Arbil.” The KRG also said that “this isn’t the first time the IRGC commander released such statements that are an unjustified intervention in the internal affairs of the Iraq and Kurdistan region.”
- On Saturday January 14, 2017 Turkish warplanes bombed positions of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Amedi in the Kurdistan region. The strikes, which did not result in any casualties, targeted a PKK cemetery.
- On January 15, 2017 the Executive Body of the Northern Syria Democratic Federation released a statement concerning the ongoing “Astana” negotiations sponsored by Russia and Turkey. In discussing the exclusion of the Kurds from the talks, the statement said that a “lack of democratic comprehensive solutions for the Syrian crisis, sacrificing these democratic powers for the sake of Turkey and regional powers opposing peoples causes led to the utter failure we witness in all these meetings held including Geneva I, II, and III and today the same mistake is being repeated in the Astana meeting where Russia is prejudiced against us.” In the statement, the Northern Syria Democratic Federation also announced that they won’t commit to the results or resolutions of the talks and that the Astana meeting will not succeed (just like other former meetings in the past have failed).
- The Syrian Democratic Forces released statistics about the Raqqa liberation operation “Wrath of Euphrates.” The statement said that 2480 km have been liberated and that 260 ISIS terrorists have been killed. According to the SDF, 40 car bombs have been neutralized, “many of which were targeted and destroyed before reaching their goals.” In the statement, the SDF thanked the U.S.-led coalition for “their military professionals who are supporting our forces at the front lines.”
- The Turkish parliament approved two articles for constitutional amendment granting more power to the President. The Pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) boycotted a parliamentary session that was focused on removing HDP deputy Garo Paylan who called the 1913-1923 persecution and killing of Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks, and Jews a genocide. Meanwhile HDP deputy Mithat Sancar said that the new presidential system will not bring stability to Turkey. The HDP Central Executive Committee announced that they will launch a “NO” campaign for the upcoming referendum on constitutional amendments. The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) is supporting the AKP and the amendments while the HDP and the Republican People’s Party (CHP) are against the amendments.
- In recent developments in the case of jailed HDP Co-chair Figen Yuksekdag, the prosecution sought a sentence of life imprisonment for allegations of “disrupting the unity of the state” and “spreading terrorist propaganda.” The Turkish authorities arrested Yuksekdag on November 4, 2014 along with 10 other HDP deputies. The prosecutor for the case has also sought 142 years in prison for Selahattin Demirtash the Co-Chair of HDP official. The other 10 Pro-Kurdish HDP parliamentarians remain in jail awaiting their court decisions.
- The Turkish police arrested 16 municipal officials and employees of Muradiye district in Van province. The arrests came after raiding the municipal building and searching the Co-mayors’ offices. On Friday, the police arrested the former Co-mayors of Nusaybin, Mardin Province after they were replaced by Government trustees.
- The jailed Co-Mayor of Mardin city, Ahmed Turk, was taken to a hospital after his health deteriorated. The Co-mayor is 74 years old and was jailed on November 21, 2016 for “membership in a Terror Organization.” Turk suffers from diabetes and other health issues.