- Students in Elame University in Tehran have protested against the attacks on Kurdish border porters, known as Kolbars. During the protests some students carried banners and chanted pro-freedom slogans. In 2017, more than 20 Kurdish Kolbars have been killed by the Iranian regime.
- Kurdistan Regional Government Parliament Speaker Yousif Mohammed resigned from his post. Mohammed blames the ruling political parties in the region; describing it as “one single ruling party.” Mohammed’s resignation came after his party (Gorran) and the Islamic Group withdrew from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) protesting the government’s reaction to the demonstrations.
- The security forces in Sulaymaniyah province have prevented further demonstrations after a three day protested ended in the death of 5 people. In some areas, clashes broke between angry protesters and security forces, which the opposition parties accused the KRG of overusing force against civilians. Some of government officials blamed groups of Kurdish youths for inciting violence after a dozen government buildings were burned down. The KRG also shut down the main television station in Sulaymaniyah and it remains closed. The protesters mainly demand to receive their salaries, as KRG has not paid them due to the financial crisis, lack of Baghdad’s provision of the region’s budget, and corruption.
- After military tensions between the Iraqi forces and Peshmerga forces south of Kifri town, the two sides were able to reach an agreement. The agreement contained the withdrawal of Iraqi forces from the area and further cooperation between both forces against terror groups operating in the area. The areas that the Iraqi forces wanted to take over included villages that were under the Peshmerga forces since 1991.
- The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) repealed a large-scale attack by ISIS militias on Jaras Sharqi village 15 miles out of al-Mayadeen southeast of Deir Ez Zor Province. The ISIS attack ended after 30 militants were killed. On December 16th, the SDF was able to liberate the village from ISIS.
- Several political parties in the Northern Syria Federation held a conference to discuss the participation of the upcoming peace talk held in Sochi, Russia. The parties released a statement expressing a willingness to participate in the talks that will “end tyranny and achieve peace.” The parties criticized the previous peace talks over Syria without the participation of the Northern Syrian Federation parties. The Russian-sponsored “Sochi Conference” will start at the end of January 2018 after failed peace talks in Geneva and Astana to end the Syrian civil war.
- The People’s Defense Units (YPG) handed over a Russian family to the Russian military after they fled from ISIS and were rescued by the YPG. A woman – Amisbula Danuyevna – with her three children had joined ISIS in 2014. Danuyevna traveled from Russia to Turkey then crossed to Syria via Tal Abyad, a bordering town. Recently she attempted to flee from ISIS a few times until the YPG were able to help her reach a safe area. A video showed the handover operation between the YPG and Russian military.
- On December 21st, the Turkish Constitutional Court (CC) rejected an appeal by the jailed co-chair of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtas. The CC’s decision came after Demirtas appealed that his detention and jail time are unconstitutional.
- The Turkish court in Marin sentenced the Pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Congress Co-chair Leyla Güven to three months in prison. Güven posted a photo on social media of the jailed HDP co-chair Demirtas when he participated in his hearing via video telecom since the Turkish authorities denied Demitras to participate in person. Güven was arrested in November and released later after an appeal. However, the court has proved the sentenced.
- Last week, the Turkish police launched a new wave of arrests against members of Pro-Kurdish parties. The Police in Izmir province detained homes and detained 51 members of HDP and Democratic Regions Party (DBP). In Istanbul, the police detained 5 people. The detainees also included journalists and members of the press. On December 26th, the police detained HDP lawmaker Lezgin Botan in a hotel.