- On August 6th, fighting broke out in the province of Western Azerbajan. Fighters of the Democratic Party of Kurdistan-Iran (PDKI) engaged with soldiers of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The PDKI claimed to have killed five IRGC soldiers and the IRGC claimed to have killed 2 Peshmerga and arrested four injured. Both sides report that the IRGC engaged the Peshmerga.
- The Kurdistan Human Rights Association (KMMK) released a report that as Turkish Commando Units conducted arson on the wooded areas of Bakur in the Zagros forest, IRGC forces did the same. It remains unclear the concrete objective of this arson.
- A young Kurdish man was executed at Sanadaj Prison on August 3rd. Imprisoned since 2013, the charge was blasphemy. The aspects around the case are suspicious to say the least. One report projects Morteza Rahmani as having been used as an undercover agent of Iran to commit an assassination, but failing to do so. The sole non-contested elements of the case were that the young man was in an opposition group, was captured by Iranian authorities and executed four years later
- A roadside bomb killed 1 Peshmerga in the south of Kirkuk on August 6th and injured three others. There has been an uptick in Islamic State attacks on the Peshmerga following breakthroughs in the Mosul campaign at the end of January. The bomb targeted a Kakayi battalion. The Kakayi are ethnic Kurds with a unique religion; the Islamic State views them as infidels.
- The Knights of Columbus, an international fraternal Christian organization, announced a partnership with the Archdiocese of Erbil to rebuild the town of Karamdes in Nineveh Plain. The effort was announced at the annual conference held in St. Louis in America. The organization pledged two million dollars for the effort and will be relying on Kurdish and Christian support for their reconstruction effort.
- The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) liberated more neighborhoods in Raqqa city. Al-Karim neighborhood northwest of Raqqa city and Nazlah Shuhada neighborhood were liberated. The SDF reported the death of 16 ISIS terrorists as a result of the clashes. During a press conference Brett McGurk, the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS, said “the SDF has seized about 45 percent of Raqqa.” In regards to foreign fighters who joined ISIS he said “40,000 foreign fighters that came to join ISIS came from 110 countries all around the world. They came through Turkey.”
- The Self-administration in Northern Syria ended meetings of the Federal Constituent Assembly. The meetings took place in Ramilan with participation of representatives of the local council, which in the end decided to hold local elections in Northern Syria starting this summer until January 2018. In a reaction to the decision, the Syrian regime rejected the elections. In a response to the rejection voices of the Syrian regime and the Islamic groups in Syria, Saleh Moslem who is the Co-President of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) said, “The conferences held in Ramilan included only the Syrians to discuss their concerns, aspirations, and projects that concern the future of the Homeland of Syria . We believe that everyone should defend the Syrian-Syrian dialogue.” Moslem criticized the regional powers and their intervention in Syria. He said, ”what is wrong with having Syrians meet in liberated areas from the regime and terrorism to have a dialogue, decide their relations, and organize the affairs of their home?”
- The People’s Democratic Party (HDP) continued their campaign of “Conscience and Justice Vigil” in protest to the ruling Turkish party of Justice and Development headed by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish government. The protests also call the Turkish government to return to the peace process that Turkey ended with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). In Istanbul the HDP is using the Yogurtchu Park for their campaign. The Turkish police attacked the HDP lawmaker on Sunday August 6 after a march by HDP members with the lawmakers. The campaign has also launched in Diyarbakir (Amed) and Van Province.
- After tensions with the European Union (EU) over the internal hardline policies and human rights, Turkey is facing challenges to continue receiving aid from the EU. Günther Oettinger European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, said “Against the backdrop of the political development in Turkey, I cannot imagine such projects will continue to be promoted.” Last month Germany pulled its troops from the Turkish base to counter ISIS and relocated them to Jordan after tensions between the two countries escalated over Turkey’s role on human rights and political affairs.