- According to Azad Mustovi, a Kurdish journalist in Iran, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) started recruiting people in the Kurdish areas of Iran for possible war against the Kurdistan region of Iraq in the event that the autonomous region declares its independence. While speaking Al Arabiyah, Mustovi said that he believed the Kurds among the IRGC would not participate in such a war against the Kurdistan region of Iraq.
- According to the Kurdistan Human Rights Association, security forces in the Kurdish city of Marivan have banned women from riding bicycles. The regime’s prosecution office made the decision, arguing that women riding bicycles was “contrary ethics.”
- In an interview with Rudaw, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that he believes “Kurds — like all other peoples in the world — have the right to express their aspirations and that the referendum they have decided to hold in September is the means to do so.” Lavrov also offered his “help” to both Arbil and Baghdad “in a way that would respect both sides” in resolving issues surrounding the Kurdistan region’s independence referendum.
- A Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) delegation ended its visit to Iran to discuss the upcoming Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq’s (KRG) independence referendum. The PUK delegation included several members of the party’s political bureau. During the visit, the Iranian government repeated its rejection of the referendum, saying that it “would lead to isolation and pressure on Iraqi Kurds and weaken Kurdistan.” According to a member of the PUK political bureau, the PUK reemphasized to the Iranian government that the PUK’s official party position favors the independence referendum. After its Iran visit, the delegation will travel to Turkey to meet with the Turkish government and discuss the independence referendum.
- On July 25, the Change Party (Gorran) elected a new leader after the farewell of its founder Nawshirwan Mustafa two months ago. Omar Saed Ali won Gorran’s leadership by receiving 38 votes out of 56 of the leadership council votes.
- In Kirkuk, the city’s security forces arrested 35 individuals for alleged involvement with the Islamic State. Officials said that the individuals were arrested under special laws put in place to protect against terrorism. The suspects are allegedly connected to the death of five people in an attack last week. In related news, the district of Hawija, located in southern Kirkuk governorate, remains a hotbed for violence and extremism.
- As the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) liberated more neighborhoods in Raqqa city, a delegation from the U.S.-led coalition visited Syria and held meetings with SDF commanders and members of the Raqqa City Civil Council. The delegation included the Deputy Commander of the International Coalition Gen. Rupert Jones (UK). During a press conference, Jones said that “the Raqqa Civil Council, working with the NGOS and the others, have done great work in recent weeks to bring humanitarian assistance to IDPs [Internally Displaced people] as they’ve come out from Raqqa and other areas.” Jones praised the SDF, saying “the Syrian Democratic Forces are making excellent progress fighting their way into Raqqa.” Jones added that “we should commend them [the SDF] for that.” Jihan Sheikh Ahmad, a female SDF commander, said that the SDF had liberated 45 percent of Raqqa since the start of the liberation campaign. Last week the SDF said that it had killed “32 mercenaries, among them a sniper and a mine engineer.”
- Kurds in Syria celebrated the 5th anniversary of their region’s socio-political revolution — a revolution that has included the areas of Qamishli, Kobani, Hasakah, and Afrin. Syrian Kurds celebrated the anniversary by commemorating those soldiers who had fallen in the fight against Islamist terror groups and Assad regime forces in the Syrian civil war.
- After arresting thousands of its members, including a dozen of its lawmakers, the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) will hold a public campaign in the Kurdish Province of Diyarbakir. Under the slogan of “Vigil of Resistance” to stand against fascism, the HDP will reaffirm its earlier announced 9 points of “Democratic Solution Declaration” in a public park from July 25th through July 31st. A number of HDP deputies will join the campaign, including: HDP Spokeperson Osman Baydemir, HDP Group Vice Chair Ahmet Yildirim, Istanbul MPs Huda Kaya, Garo Paylan, Adiyaman MP Behcet Yildirim, Amed MPs Feleknas Uca, Nimettullah Erdogmus, Ziya Pir, Izmir MP Muslum Dogan, and Agri MP Dilan Dirayet Tasdemir.
- The Turkish Parliament approved a motion to revoke the parliamentary membership of Faysal Sariyildiz, HDP deputy for Shirnak electoral district, due to lack of attendance. Last year Sariyildiz fled to Iraqi Kurdistan after he survived an attack by the Turkish military on his hometown that killed several civilians.
- The diplomatic crisis between Turkey and Germany reached a new level after the German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel held a press statement warning Germans not to travel to Turkey. Gabriel’s warning came about in response to Turkey’s government arresting human rights activist Peter Steudtner alongside several other human rights campaigners. The foreign minister warned German citizens that “every German that goes to Turkey can be arrested.” He also criticized Turkey’s President Erdogan for his regime’s recent policies toward Germany. “It takes two to tango,” Gabriel said. In related news, Germany’s best-selling newspaper Bild cited government sources that claimed Germany will suspend future arms deals and other military cooperation with Turkey.