- Kurdistan human rights organizations reported that six Kurdish political prisoners went on hunger strike in solidarity with Turkey’s Kurdish political prisoners’ hunger strike. The hunger strike took place in Urmia and Tabriz provinces.
- On April 25, the Turkish warplanes struck two Kurdish towns in Syria and Iraq. The Turkish strike on the Yazidi town of Shingal, where members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) are present, resulted in the killing of five Peshmerga forces and injury of another six. The second strike targeted the Qara Chokh area of Derek city in Syria. The Turkish jets hit the positions of U.S.-backed People’s Defense Units (YPG). The strike resulted in one death of 18 YPG and 20 others wounded. The Ministry of the Peshmerga condemned the attacks by the Turkish warplanes and described them as “unacceptable.” Further, the Ministry of the Peshmerga blamed the PKK for their presence in Shingal town and called upon PKK to leave Shingal. Five Kurdish blocs in the Kurdistan parliament released a joint statement strongly condemning the attack by Turkey and calling the strike “inhumane.” The statement said, “The Turkish military is responsible for the death and the destruction of homes. We call upon the United Nations and the international community to condemn Turkish military acts and to stop them since it’s violating the international law.” The parties signed on the statement include The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), The Change Party (Gorran), Kurdistan Islamic Union, Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal) and Islamic Movement of Kurdistan. In Derek town, the YPG released a statement describing the attacks on their position as “cowardly” and further said, “it will not discourage our determination and our free will to fight terrorism.” Later on Tuesday, a U.S. officer part of the U.S.-led coalition visited the location of the Turkish strikes accompanied by members of the YPG.
- Turkish warplanes targeted the positions of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) several times in the last week north of the bordering areas between Kurdistan and Turkey. The attacks targeted areas of Kani Masi in Dohuk and Sangasar in Ranya district of Sulaymaniyah. Since the end of the Turkish referendum, more strikes targeted the PKK positions in Iraqi Kurdistan. No casualties were reported.
- After weeks of back and forth meetings between the Kurdish political parties, the Democratic Party of Kurdistan (KDP) and the Patriot Union of Kurdistan (PUK) released a joint statement after their meeting on Sunday. According to the statement, a committee from both of KDP and PUK were formed to reactivate the parliament and discuss the details of the independence referendum. Recently the joint PUK and Change Party (Gorran) leadership held a meeting which resulted in demand to reactivate the parliament in order to hold the referendum. On April 19 responding to reporters, Kirkuk said that the province will vote on the Kurdistan independent referendum if the allocated referendum committee decide to hold it in Kirkuk.
- The German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel visited the Kurdistan region and held a meeting with President Massud Barzani. The Minster praised the role of the Peshmerga forces facing ISIS and described it as “bravery”. The minster also praised the Kurdistan region’s role in hosting the Internally Displaced People (IDP). On behalf of Kurdistan, Barzani thanked Germany for their help in training and supplying the Kurdish forces against ISIS.
- The United States Department of Defense announced the approval of “a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Republic of Iraq for equipment for two Peshmerga infantry brigades and two support artillery battalions.” In a statement the Department of Defense estimated the cost of the deal at $295 million. The weapons will be for two Peshmerga Brigades which will include body arms, rifles, machine guns, mortars, and protective equipment for chemical weapons.
- The phase 4 of “Wrath of Euphrates” campaign to liberate Raqqa from ISIS continued for its second week. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) liberated 8 villages in the country side of Raqqa. The SDF repelled ISIS suicide car attacks in an attempt to stop the SDF advancing. Backed by the U.S.-led coalition, the SDF announced the death of 70 ISIS militant in the clashes while they seized a number of light and heavy weapons from ISIS. On April 24 the SDF opened a corridor for displaced families fleeing from ISIS control west of Raqqa. About 15 thousand IDPs were able to reach the SDF controlled refugee camp of Ain Issa 40 miles north of city of Raqqa. Due to the large number of IDPs, Raqqa’s Civil Council released a statement calling upon the humanitarian organizations and the United Nations to help the IDPs as they are experiencing difficult living conditions. The co-president of the Syrian Democratic Council Ilham Ahmed criticized the international community for its “silence” and lack of support for the people of Raqqa. She described the situation of the IDP as “a humanitarian disaster.”
- April 19, after rejecting the referendum results, the HDP officially filed an appeal to Turkey’s Supreme Election Board (YSK). HDP Mardin parliamentarian Mithat Sancar said: “The referendum took place under a state of emergency. The conditions were unequal. There were many violations. These constituted a violation of democratic rights in elections.” Further, “this decision made it impossible to prove that ballots brought from outside have been used. It is no longer possible to make the referendum legal. The YSK’s decision to declare unstamped votes as valid was taken after ballots were opened and counting began in Kurdish cities. We did not even know if there was such a decision.” Later on April 20, the YKS rejected the call for appeals with majority votes among the members of the YKS. Video footage has emerged showing a member of Turkish Parliament of Party of Justice and Development (AKP) İbrahim Halil Yildiz with several armed men raid a polling station inside a school in Suruch and filling a ballot box with ‘Yes’ votes during Sunday’s referendum.
- The Turkish authorities have detained another lawmaker of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Dilan Dirayet Tashdemir. Tashdemir is representing the Kurdish district of Agri in the Turkish Parliament. She was taken into custody on April 18. Separately the Turkish court released two HDP lawmakers after months of imprisonment. Both Meral Danish and Nursel Aydogan release are on conditions of judicial control.