- Thousands of Iranian Kurds celebrated on the streets of Sanandaj in support of the referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan. The celebrations arose in Iran while the referendum process was ending on September 25th. In response, the Iranian government arrested several Kurdish activists for raising the flag of Kurdistan during their celebrations.
- On September 25, the Iranian regime fired artillery into Kurdish villages in Iraqi Kurdistan. The attacks targeted the Kurdish border area of Balakaiati in northeast Iraqi Kurdistan. No casualties were reported.
- Despite regional and international objections, the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan held its Independence Referendum on September 25th, both for the larger region and the disputed territories. Over four million voters cast their ballots. According to initial results, 73 percent of eligible voters participated in the referendum. In the disputed city of Kirkuk 78 percent of eligible voters participated. As of the time of this report, the “Yes” vote appears to be dominating, with initial numbers showing the “Yes” vote as high as 95 percent in some areas.
- U.S. Dept. of State spokesperson Heather Nauert released a statement in response to Iraqi Kurdistan’s independence referendum. The statement said that “the United States is deeply disappointed that the Kurdistan Regional Government decided to conduct today a unilateral referendum.” The statement also said that the U.S. valued its relationship with Iraqi Kurdistan, adding “the United States’ historic relationship with the people of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region will not change in light of today’s non-binding referendum.” Meanwhile, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he will “respect the process established by the Kurds,” but he would not get involved or weigh in on the internal decisions of another country.
- On September the people of Northern Syria’s Democratic Federal system held an election for local representatives. In a historic vote, Syrian Kurds, Arabs, Christians, and other ethnic and religious groups voted to elect 3,732 Co-chair communes with 12,421 candidates as nominees. On November 3, another round of elections will take place for electing local administration. In January 18, 2017, the final stage of elections will be held to elect positions for the “Democratic People’s’ Conference,” a governmental branch similar to the U.S. House of Representatives in regards to the various Syrian regions within the federal structure.
- The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have now liberated 90 percent of Raqqa city, the de facto capital of ISIS. The SDF clashed with ISIS militant in the city center in an attempt to clear the city after more than three months into the liberation campaign. In Deir Ez Zour, Russian jets struck SDF positions while the latter were engaging in a battle against ISIS near the city. The SDF released a statement condemning this second Russian aggression against the SDF which resulted in the death of one fighter and the injury of two more. The statement read: “we strongly condemn the Russian aggressive attacks and their allies that serve terrorism, and we assure that we would not stand idly by, and we would use our right in lawful defense.”
- After several threats against the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, the Turkish Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTÜK) banned the broadcast of the Kurdish TV Channel Rudaw in Turkey.
- Turkey’s Parliament approved a one-year extension to a mandate for Turkey’s military to engage in cross-border operations against the Kurds in Syria and Iraq. Three of the main political parties in Turkey voted in favor of the motion while the Pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) voted against it
- Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s bodyguards again attacked and beat protesters at an event in New York City. After finishing his visit at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Erdogan spoke to his Turkish supporters in a rally organized by the Turkish-American National Steering Committee in New York. Several American activists protested Erdogan’s speech and were beaten by his guards, as clearly shown in a number of videos from the event.