- The Kurdistan Press Agency (Kurdpa), reported that the Iranian intelligence forces detained a Kurdish photographer who owns photography store in Piranshar city. According to Kurdpa’s report the Kurdish photographer had “a connection to a Kurdish opposition group.” The same accusation resulted in the arrest of four Kurdish activists in Mirbad town in West Azerbaijan (Urmia) Province. Hundreds of Kurds remain in the regime’s prisons for years due to their political activism.
- Halabja Chemical Attacks commemoration took place in Halabja city with the participation of the representatives of the Kurdish parties.
- The Major Kurdish parties released statements for Newroz. Democratic Party Union of Kurdistan (KDP) statement called upon the Kurdish political parties to unite and overcome the political crises in the region and called for Kurdistan’s independence. The statement blamed Baghdad for not delivering its agreements with the Kurdistan region on oil, budget allocation, Peshmerga forces, and the issue of the disputed territories. In its statement, the Patriot Union of Kurdistan (PUK) congratulated the people of Kurdistan and promised to resume its efforts to mediate among the parties to overcome the “crises.” The PUK sent special congratulations to people of Kirkuk for the anniversary of the 1991 uprising in Kirkuk. Similar to KDP and PUK, the Change Movement (Gorran) statement congratulated the people and wished the new Kurdish year to become “an initiator to solve the crises and issues in the Kurdistan region.”
- Kirkuk administration and provincial council celebrated Newroz day on top of the historical citadel in downtown Kirkuk. During the celebration, Kirkuk governor and the acting Chairman of the Provincial Council raised both flags of Iraq and Kurdistan over the citadel. Kirkuk Governor congratulated the people and responded to the reaction of his suggestion to raise the flag of the Kurdistan region over Kirkuk’s Government buildings. “The flag of Kurdistan is for all of us, Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, Chaldeans and Assyrians (Christians),” stated the Kirkuk Governor.
- The People’s Defense Units (YPG) spokesperson Redur Khalil announced that an agreement between Russia and YPG has been met in regards to having Russian units west of Syria in Jandaris district of the Afrin. Khalil said in a statement: “the agreement is based on military training of our fighters [YPG] by the Russian army.” In the statement, Khalil declared having relations with Russia describing it as “positive” and “good” steps to fight the terror groups in Syria. Observers think this step is to stop Turkey’s attacks on Afrin since the start of their military operation in Syria.
- The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) liberated more areas in the campaign of Raqqa liberation “Wrath of Euphrates.” On March 18 the SDF liberated al Khas Age village southeast of Raqqa city, which lies on the west of Der al Zour city. On March 20 the SDF declared the liberation 3km long train station in the southwest of Qestat al Kasoun village 18 km east of Raqqa city. According to the SDF, 2,000 displaced people fled from ISIS control areas near the clashes with SDF.
- Turkish police detained 25 Kurdish activists from Van city. Allegedly the activists were planning for a Newroz gathering (Kurdish New Year Celebration). In Diyarbakir and during a visit to the Newroz Committee, the lawmaker and spokesperson of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) Osman Baydamir said: “Newroz celebration is for all and belongs to all people.” In his statement, Baydamir hoped the celebration will be the beginning of a new era in Turkey after a “bloody” and “tearful” two and half years in Turkey. “Let’s go to the celebration arena with millions and celebrate the day of peace, freedom, and co-existence,” said Baydamir. Kurdish students at Dicle University in Diyarbakir were banned by the Turkish police when they tried to commemorate Newroz. The Turkish police also detained a German journalist while covering the distribution of Newroz flyers by HDP members in Diyarbakir. Annually the biggest Newroz celebrations take place in the Kurdish province of Diyarbakir where more than one million people participate.