- Amnesty International released a report on jailed Kurdish activist Zeynab Jalalian who was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Iranian regime for her political activism. Jalalian is currently severely ill and requires specialized medical care that can only be provided outside of prison. Yet authorities have persistently refused to transfer her to a hospital. Iranian authorities use this denial of effective medical services as a means of punishment to extract forced confessions from her. The Amnesty report states that “the denial of access to medical care in these circumstances amounts to torture.”
- The Kurdistan Human Rights Association reported that Malekshahi city in Illam is facing a shortage of drinking water. The association claims that the city of fifty thousand people is being purposefully neglected by the Iranian regime. In addition to Malekshahi, the report states that there are 28 other villages in the area suffering from drinking water shortages because of the Iranian government’s discriminatory policies of neglect.
- After the liberation of Tal Afar, a town west of Mosul, a dozen ISIS terrorists were captured by Peshmerga forces after the insurgents approached Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) defensive lines to orchestrate an attack. According to the Peshmerga forces, two of the ISIS terrorists blew themselves up during the clashes.
- The Provincial Council of Kirkuk (PCK) Province voted in favor to allow for Kirkuk’s participation in the Kurdistan Region’s upcoming Independence Referendum on September 25, 2017. The Brotherhood bloc voted in favor of participation while the Turkmen Front (a party with close ties to Turkey’s government) and the Arab coalition objected. The Brotherhood bloc is dominated by the Kurds but also includes many non-Kurdish members as well. A number of countries — including Iraq, Iran, the U.S., and Turkey — continue to put pressure on the Kurdistan Region to call off the referendum.
- After a failed Turkish intelligence operation near Sulaymaniyah to capture Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader, the Turkish government shut down the Patriot Union of Kurdistan’s (PUK) office in Ankara. The Turkish government also expelled the PUK representative in Ankara and demanded that the PUK put more pressure on the PKK to release two currently captured Turkish intelligence officers. The PKK also confirmed that they captured two National Intelligence Organization (MIT) members who were engaged in a failed plan to abduct and/or assassinate the PKK’s current leader Jamil Baik.
- The “Wrath of Euphrates” military campaign to liberate Raqqa from ISIS continued on its 83rd day. The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) clashed with ISIS in east and center of Raqqa. The SDF announced the liberation of three more neighborhoods, including al-Mansour which faced intensified clashes. According to the most recent war map of Raqqa, 60 percent of the city has been liberated from ISIS. The SDF is now preparing to launch an offense, with the continuing help of U.S. air support, to take Deir al-Zor province from ISIS control.
- On August 26, the SDF foiled an ISIS attack on the town of al Shadadi south of Al Hasakah Governorate near the Iraqi borders east of Syria. The SDF announced the death of 16 ISIS terrorists in the failed attacks to take the town from the SDF. The SDF liberated Al Shaddai from ISIS control in February 2016. Al Shaddai is considered a strategic town due to its location and its large reserves of oil and natural gas.
- The Democratic Federation of Northern Syria will hold elections for the first time since its establishment in March 2016. The elections will involve three stages. The local representative for the local government will be elected in all regions and cantons in Northern Syria. More than 2,700 candidates have registered for the elections — including Kurds, Arabs, Christians, and other minorities. The upcoming elections will be the first to take place since Kurdish and other allied local forces wrested control of the area from both the Syrian Baathist regime and ISIS.
- The Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG) released a statement accusing the Turkish government of intensifying its attacks on the Kurdish city of Afrin north west of Syria. “The occupying Turkish army and the gangs acting under their command have increased their attacks against Rojava [North of Syria],” the statement said. “The gangs’ attacks against Afrin has increased while aerial activity continues over Kobanê.” The YPG also outlined the dates and types of attacks by Turkish-backed groups on the Kurdish areas.
- Two courts in Ankara got into a dispute over the legality of combining cases against the Kurdish jailed Co-Leader of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtash. The Second Ankara High Criminal Court refused the request of the Ankara High Criminal Court No.19 to combine a criminal case of a teenager against the Kurdish politician Demirtash. The court did not find Demirtash responsible for the incident. The Ankara Regional Court of Justice will now decide the original case. Demirtash has been imprisoned since November 3, 2016, over a number of charges including “Insulting the President.”
- The Chairman of the Unified European Left (UEL) in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Tiny Kox sent a letter to the Speaker of Turkey’s Parliament. “Elected Parliamentarians belong in the Parliament, and not in prison,” Kox said. “We call once again on you to demand with us for the immediate release of all the members of your Parliament who are currently held in detention.” Germany’s Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière also objected to Turkey’s policies, saying “our definition of terror is different from Turkey’s, as a general idea, a Kurdish opposition member may not be a terrorist for us.” Additionally, on the issue of free speech, the Swedish government summoned the Turkish Ambassador in Stockholm and expressed concerns over the arrest of a Swedish-Turkish journalist in Spain by orders from Ankara. On the same issue, the German government recently passed a proposal to supervise the Turkish police, who often impose the extradition of journalists and writers through INTERPOL.