- Another Kurdish border porter (also known as a kolbar) was killed by Iranian border officials this week in Bitoush village in Sardasht. Iranian border guards shot and killed 24-year-old Peshtiwan Moein. In the past few months, several kolbars have been shot and killed or wounded by Iranian government border guards. The Iranian regime has intensified its crackdown on Kurdish workers and political activists in recent weeks after thousands of Kurds openly celebrated in support of the independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan.
- The Iraqi army, in tandem with Iranian-backed militias known as Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs) advanced to the north of the city of Kirkuk and clashed with Peshmerga forces in Perdi (also known as Alton Kopri) sub-district, 40km south of Erbil. Meanwhile in Tuz Khormato, the Iranian-backed PMUs burned turns of Kurdish homes and displaced thousands of Kurdish families who fled for safety further into the Kurdistan region. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of Iraq estimates that 400 civilians have been killed during the conflicts in Kirkuk and other disputed territories. In a recent development, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on the Iranian-proxy units to “go home.” With tensions still high and the security situation remaining tenuous, the KRG Security Council released a statement concerning the military build up of Iraqi and Iranian proxy forces near Kurdistan region. Politically the KRG welcomed calls by the U.S. and Iraq’s Prime Minister Abadi to resume negotiations between the Iraqi central government and the KRG within the framework of Iraq’s constitution.
- The Kurdistan Region’s public prosecutor issued arrest warrants for several Iraqi officials. The officials charged include Iranian-backed Shia extremist religious leader Qais al-Khazali and several other lawmakers with close ties to Iran. Meanwhile in Baghdad, an Iraqi court issued an arrest warrant for KRG Vice President Kosrat Rasul for describing PMUs as “enemies.”
- After the liberation of Raqqa (formerly the de facto capital of ISIS), U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) launched a sweeping operation to clear neighborhoods of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) left by ISIS before they fled the city. SDF spokesperson Talal Silo said that the SDF will be handling the administration of the city to the civil council of Raqqa once it’s cleared of mines. So far, according to Raqqa Council Co-Chair Laila Mustafa, a number of villages have been handed over to the civil council. In Deir Ez Zour, the SDF seized Syria’s largest oilfield from ISIS. The SDF’s liberation campaign, “Al-Jazeera Tempest,” continues with U.S.-led coalition support.
- After over a year of sporadic attacks from the Turkish military on the Kurdish city of Afrin in Syria, clashes broke out between Turkish military forces and the Kurdish Defense Units (YPG) in the city as the Turkish forces began bombarding Afrin. The attacks focused on Iska village, in coordination with Turkey-backed Islamist groups in the region. The Afrin YPG commander threatened to resist the “Turkish occupation” of the town. Afrin sits northwest of Aleppo and remains isolated from the rest of the democratic confederalist system based in northeast Syria.
- On October 16, the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTSC) canceled the memberships of a number of Pro-Kurdish lawmakers from the People’s Democratic Party (HDP). According to Turkey’s laws, seats on the RTSC are granted according to the percentage of a political party’s seats in parliament. The HDP’s share of memberships were given instead to the ruling Party of Justice and Development (AKP). The HDP released a statement denouncing these actions by the Turkish government and the AKP, calling the actions “not legitimate.” In its statement, the HDP said “it is important that the entire democratic public and national and international media institutions take note of this unlawful usurpation, and act accordingly.”
- Turkey’s government continued its political purges against opposition party members, as Turkish police detained several members of the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP), the Federation of Socialist Youth Associations (SGDF), the Law Office of the Oppressed (EHB), and the Etkin News Agency (ETHA). The arrests took place in Istanbul, as Turkish forces raided the aforementioned local parties’ offices.