NEWS IN BRIEF Update – Turkish invasion of Rojava/North East Syria – No 8
No 8 18 – 27 Nov 2019
For all of the latest developments, see these sources:
Rojava Information Center:
Women Defend Rojava:
Revealed: how UK technology fuelled Turkey’s rise to global drone power
27 November 2019|The GuardianTurkey was able to circumvent a US export ban on killer drones with the help of a missile component first developed in the UK, allowing Ankara to become an emerging power in the lethal technology, which experts warn is dangerously proliferating.
Syria constitutional talks stuck on first day of new round
25 November 2019|Yahoo News, Reuters
Damascus government delegates to a Syrian Constitutional Committee left the second U.N.-sponsored round before it began on Monday, in what opposition members said was a stalling tactic, and it was unclear whether talks would take place on Tuesday.The talks are meant to be a step forward in what the United Nations says will be a long road to political rapprochement, followed by elections.
Leftists worldwide, stand by the protesters in Iran!
25 November 2019|ROAR Magazine
A statement signed by more than 70 academics, militants and independent political groups calls upon the global left to break its silence and express its solidarity with the people of Iran.
(VIDEO) A Conversation with Ilham Ahmed
25 November 2019|Institute for the Study of Human Rights
The Peacebuilding and Human Rights program hosted Ilham Ahmed, Executive President of the Syrian Democratic Council, on 22 November 2019, to discuss the ongoing crisis in Syria. Ilham Ahmed was born in the Kurdish city of Afrin in Rojava,
Syria and has been part of the Kurdish struggle for freedom and democracy since the 1990’s, with a particular focus on women’s rights.
Zehra Dogan’s prison paintings fight for the Kurdish cause
24 November 2019|France 24
The Kurdish artist, activist and journalist Zehra Dogan was imprisoned for 600 days in Turkey as part of the crackdown on journalists in the wake of the failed 2016 military coup. As her paintings from prison go on display in Paris and her letters are published in French for the first time, she talks to FRANCE 24 about her plans for the future and the recent US betrayal of the Kurds.
US senators, experts condemn Turkey in Syria
22 November 2019|Kurdistan 24
Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen speaking on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, reaffirmed his determination to pass legislation to impose sanctions on Turkey and “hold it accountable” for its unprovoked assault on northeast Syria, as well as Ankara’s purchase of the advanced Russian air defense missile system, the S-400.
Turkey: Re-arrest of novelist Ahmet Altan is arbitrary and cruel
20 November 2019|ifex
Turkish authorities have re-arrested the internationally-known Turkish novelist Ahmet Altan just one week after his release from over three years in detention. ARTICLE 19 and the undersigned organisations said that his re-arrest on 12 November was an extraordinarily low blow in a case that has been marked by political interference and arbitrariness from start to finish.
New report: “Journalists in the Dock: The Judicial Silencing of the Fourth Estate”
18 November 2019|ifex
The International Press Institute (IPI) highlighted the continued jailing of over 120 journalists in Turkey as a deep stain on the country’s human rights record at the launch of a joint report by eight international press freedom and journalism organizations on the status of press freedom in the country.
British-Kurdish academic released on $40K bail from notorious Iranian prison
21 November 2019|Kurdistan 24
The Iranian intelligence service arrested Ahmadi in August in Tehran, where he is a resident, on charges that are still unclear. He was held in the infamous Evin Prison, a facility known for decades for the cruel mistreatment of intellectuals and political dissidents, many of whom have died while in custody. The facility is under the control of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
Reports of War Crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan Highlight the Failures of Both Wars
21 November 2019|Counterpunch
The alleged bid by the British government and army to close down investigations into torture and murder in Iraq and Afghanistan appears to be the latest aspect of a widespread desire in the UK to forget all about these failed wars, writes investigative Patrick Cockburn.
Amid growing crackdown, pro-Kurdish party calls for new elections in Turkey
20 November 2019|Al Monitor
Officials from the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) reached the decision after dozens of party members and supporters have been sacked, detained or jailed in recent months. Since the municipal elections in March, the central government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has removed 24 of the party’s mayors from office on terror-related charges and replaced by state-appointed trustees.
Syrian Kurds Facing Strategic Choice
19 November 2019|Valdai Discussion Club
The Syrian government has proposed that Kurdish armed groups join its army amid the ongoing conflict with Turkey. Concerning the security situation in northern Syria, the fact that the Kurdish troops are joining the Syrian government army, taking control of the region and suppressing the remaining radical Islamist groups can help restore the rule of law, ensure a peaceful life and improve the security situation, writes Boris Dolgov, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies at the RAS Institute of Oriental Studies.
The US Is Too Late to Push Turkey and the Syrian Kurds to an Agreement
17 October 2019| Valdai Discussion Club
President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from Syria, and green-lighting a Turkish offensive against the Kurds in Northern Syria, although sudden and shocking to some, is broadly coherent with the Western policy toward the Kurds in Syria. Although off the cuff, the decision is an outcome of the broader failure in the West in devising a coherent policy to sustain the US presence in Syria in the face of opposition from Turkey.
Eyewitnesses to the Rojava revolution: hevaltî and dignity
14 November 2019|Peace in Kurdistan
Debbie Bookchin and Emre Şahin share their thoughts and observations on how the revolution has impacted everyday life in Rojava (North East Syria).
Kongra Star urges UN to play its role against Turkish invasion
14 November 2019|Peace in Kurdistan
Kongra Star Coordination, the umbrella organisation of women living in North-Eastern Syria (aka Rojava) criticised the United Nations and called for immediate action to stop the Turkish offensive. The letter calls out the “continuous attacks of the Turkish state and the jihadist terror groups” which are displacing the local population through ethnic cleansing.