- After more than a week for protests, the Iranian regime arrested more than one thousand protesters including college students. The Kurdistan Human Rights Association published names of 43 Kurdish students detained and at least one Kurdish student missing from Kermanshah. As the regime’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) claimed to have quelled the protests, militants of the IRGC deployed in Kurdish cities disguised in Kurdish clothes to prevent more protests. Meanwhile tens of Kurdish youth posted pictures showing anti regime slogans. Tensions remain high in several Iranian cities as security forces are deployed in most of the protesting cities. The spokesperson for the Iranian Interior Minister rejected the release of the number of detained protesters.
- The Secretary of the Expediency Discernment Council of Iran, Mohsen Rezaee, accused the Kurdistan region of Iraq of supporting the protests in Iran. Rezaee said that the CIA and Iranian opposition groups in the Kurdistan region managed the protests. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) released a statement rejecting the accusations. “We categorically deny such baseless and fabricated accusations. The Kurdistan Region has shown in practice that it has always been, and remains, a factor for peace and stability,” read the statement.
- A delegation formed of three Kurdish parties visited baghdad and held a meeting with Haider Abadi Iraq’s Prime Minister. Change party (Gorran), Islamic Group (Komala), and Coalition for Democracy and Justice announced that Abadi had promised them to pay Kurdistan employees’ salaries and to run the disputed areas jointly with the Kurdistan region. In a press conference, the Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said the Kurdish parties only represented themselves not the KRG. Baghdad has yet to accept talks with the KRG over the disputed issues.
- The Asayesh forces (public security) revealed the arrest of two Kurdish groups of ISIS in Sulaymaniyah city. The Asayesh Sulaymaniyah office said the terrorists were captured in July of 2017 and they were planning to hit targets in the Kurdistan region without relaying more details. Both ISIS groups were dominated with female members that have been recruited by the terror group via social media.
- After displacement of thousands of Kurds from Tuz due to attacks on October 16th by Iranian backed militias on the town, the Iraqi Parliament decided to set up an inquiry committee and prepare a report about the situation. The committee is formed of representatives of security, defense, legal, human rights, displaced persons, culture and media committees in the parliament. Previously, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) released a report about the violations in Tuz. Meanwhile in Kirkuk province, the director of Article 140 and member of the Provincial Council, Kaka Rash Sadiq, accused the acting governor Rakan Saed of restoring the Arabization process against the Kurdish villages and districts. Sadiq held a press conference and revelied documents where the acting governor is directing the judiciary department to return Arab tribes to Kurdish villages in Sargaran and Daquq. Sadiq told the press that the administration of the province has no legal right for such a decision since these areas are within Article 140 of Iraq’s constitution. Separately in Kirkuk, unknown gunmen shot two Kurdish youth in Aden neighborhood. Since October 16, 2017 Kirkuk city is facing challenges of assassinations, robbery, and terror attacks.
- The military campaign of “Al Jazeera Tempest” to liberate Deir Ez Zour continued advancing toward the city. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced the liberation of two more village south of al-Mayadeen town. The villages are: al-Jadealya and Elias villages. During the clashes with ISIS militants, the SDF killed 11 and seized weapons from the terror group. Last week the SDF discovered a tunnel belonging to ISIS in Markada district northeast of Deir Ez Zour. The tunnel was used by ISIS fighters to launch attacks and stop SDF before the district was liberated in November of 2017. On January 8, the SDF also shot down 3 ISIS drones used to bomb the SDF. The main faction of the SDF, People’s Defense Units (YPG) announced that 8 YPG were killed in the recent clashes during “Al Jazeera Tempest.”
- During a parliamentary address to his ruling Party of Justice and Development, Turkey’s President repeated threats to invade the Kurdish city of Afrin and the SDF-controlled Manbij. On January 3, the SDF released the annual war report of 2017, “Throughout 2017,” where it stated that 920 attacks were conducted by Turkey against Afrin. 907 attacks were by light and medium weapons while the rest of the attacks included 5 helicopter attacks, 7 missile attacks, and 1 attack with combat planes. The SDF revealed that in 2017, 13 of their fighters were killed alongside 16 civilians due to the Turkish attacks on Afrin.
- The High Electoral Commissions in the Northern Syrian Federation announced postponement of the third and final round of the election that was scheduled for this month. During an interview, the co-chair of the Constituent Assembly of the Democratic Federal System Hadya Youssef said they posposted the final round due to requests by competing parties and independent figures. She also said, “The third stage of the Northern Syrian elections has been postponed to prepare intensively to avoid any technical errors.” The third round is the final round to elect the Democratic People’s’ Conference (Parliament) in the Northern Syrian Federation.
- The YPG have captured one of the most wanted female terrorists in Europe. A video released by the YPG media center shows an interview with Emilie Konig, a 34 year old French female Jihadi. Konig stressed the good treatment by YPG during the investigations. Konig was recruited by ISIS and traveled to Syria via Turkey to join ISIS.
- In preparation for a military campaign against the Kurdish areas, the Turkish government imposed curfew on 69 villages of Diyarbakir(Amed). The villages are within the two districts of Lice and Kulp. In the statement by the Diyarbakir governorate, the curfew would remain active until “further notice.”
- The jailed co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtas announced that he will not run in the party’s upcoming congress held in February. Demirtas said, “I would like it to be known in advance that I will not stand as a candidate for Co-Chair at this congress.” Demirtas said his party “will carry out the beginning,” referring to the upcoming Congress. He promised to continue serving the HDP even though he is in prison. Demirtas is waiting for his trial for more than a hundred cases against him by the Turkish government and has been jailed since November 6, 2016.
- On January 4, and after imprisonment for more than a year, the Turkish court in Diyarbakir has sentenced the Kurdish lawmaker of the HDP Idris Baluken, to 16 years and 11 months in prison. In first reaction after the verdict, Baluken said “All the country and the international public know that the trial processes targeting our democratic political activity are not legal, but political.” Baluken was charged of “membership of terror organization” in reference to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which the Turkish government has accused 10 other HDP lawmakers of as well as tens of thousands of Kurdish politicians and public figures.
- After five months since capturing two officers of the Turkish National Intelligence, the PKK released a video showing the operation which was conducted in Dokan District in Sulaymaniyah-Iraqi Kurdistan. In a second video released by the PKK, the two members of the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) Aydin Gunel and Erhan Pekcetin talk about their roles as members of the MIT.