As we have been reporting, a new wave of abductions, detentions and office shutdowns has hit the Kurdish National Council in Syria, its member parties and other non-regime organizations since mid March. As in August 2016, a number of persons has been abducted by the PYD / YPG security forces. Additionally, numerous offices have been demolished, torched and subsequently sealed by PYD security forces (also see our report from March 16, 2017).
Since last week, the number of arrests has declined and some of the abducted have been released. However, the atmosphere of fundamental uncertainty for Syria’s Kurdish population persists. While the offices of the KNC and the Assyrian Democratic Organisation, who both cooperate with the oppositional delegation in the Geneva talks, remain sealed, the Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party in Syria, according to a report by Yekiti Media, has been granted permission to reopen its offices. The permission has been granted even though the PYD’s prior demand for party registration was not fullfilled, and although turning down this request so far had been taken as reason for the detentions and shutdowns. This allows conclusions on the probable underlying motivations of the PYD’s and YPG’s actions of the last weeks.
Regardless of the depicted repressions, the KNC proceeds with its political work and is planning the reopening of its offices. Muhsen Taher, the KNC spokesperson for municipal councils, declared in an interview with Ashanews, that the secretariat-general of the KNC has already made decisions on the repair, restructuring and reopening of its offices. All forms of peaceful political activity will be continued at home and abroad. These decisions stem from the KNC‘s secretariat-general meeting on March 24, 2017, which has been the first regular meeting since the beginning of the shutdowns by PYD forces. Decisions on possible expansions of the KNC‘s activities have also been made at this meeting. On the one hand, an increased openness towards the national opposition is intended; on the other hand, the KNC‘s political vision of a democratic, parliamentarian and federal Syria, that acknowledges the Kurdish people in its constitution and concedes its rights in accordance with international agreements and conventions, shall be continuously pursued. Furthermore, the practices and activities of the PYD during the last weeks have been discussed intensively. Not only does the KNC want to endeavour the repair and reopening of its offices, it also strives to actively make a stand against the repressions until they are being stopped and all captives have been freed.
Because of the recent break out of fights in the areas around Damascus, Hama and other places, as well as due to the danger held by a collapse of the Tabqa Dam, which has already been severely damaged in combat, the international awareness for political repressions and infringements in the Kurdish regions remains low. Kurdish Syrians in Germany have therefore called attention to the situation with a protest campaign in front of the PYD’s office in Berlin on Saturday, March 25, and demanded a listing of the PYD and its military branch as terrorist organisations. Without disregarding the dramatic events in the Arab regions nor their consequences, we consider it our task to continuously observe and report on the situation and the adherence to human rights in the predominantly Kurdish regions.
Capacity Building: Kurdischer Nationalrat in Syrien
March 31, 2017