B u l l e t i n

c o m p l e t

Bulletin N° 467 | February 2024



The defense of the Kurdish language is increasingly becoming a central demand of civil society, and is manifesting itself forcefully during the current campaign for the March 30 municipal elections.

February 21, International Mother Language Day, gave rise to numerous meetings and initiatives in support of the Kurdish language.  For example, Sinan Çiftyurek, a deputy for the DEM party in Van province, posted a video on social networks, showing a Kurdish flag alongside a Kurdish flag with the following message: "The colonizers, the Turkey that occupies our country, have begun their work with the Kurdish language.  For them, the eradication of the Kurdish people begins with the eradication of their language".  He condemns Turkey's 100-year policy of assimilating the Kurds, "a policy that has failed", he asserts. "We cannot live without our language", he stresses.  As part of this campaign to defend the language, music concerts, conferences and public demonstrations were organized by the DWS and civil society NGOs, despite the repressive context. The pro-Kurdish party is calling for Kurdish to be recognized as an official language of Turkey, as it is in Iraq, and for Kurdish to be taught in Kurdistan's schools and colleges.  "Let's speak Kurdish everywhere and every time" is the slogan of this campaign, which is being run under the hashtag = Ziman Jiyan e, language is life.

Speeches in Kurdish by Kurdish MPs in the Ankara parliament have, as usual, provoked strong reactions, including from the speaker of the assembly, who continues to record in the minutes an "unknown" or "incomprehensible" language that is spoken by millions of the country's citizens, who make up almost a quarter of the population.  In December, a Kurdish MP from Mardin, Beritan Gunes, had already provoked an outcry from Turkish nationalists by declaring in Kurdish before Parliament: "Our language is our identity, our language is our culture, our language is our honor.  We will always defend our honor".

These linguistic demands will have a major impact on the forthcoming elections, as the pro-Kurdish DEM party, formerly known as H adep, will be fielding its own candidates in major Turkish cities such as Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir.  In previous elections, in order to defeat the government's AKP candidate, H adep did not field any candidates, clearly favoring those of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP).  Elected thanks to the decisive support of Kurdish voters, the mayors of these metropolises made no gestures in favor of cultural recognition, not even the creation of a cultural center or the celebration of Newroz, the Kurdish New Year.  This ingratitude has angered the Kurdish electorate, who this time intend to support Kurdish candidates. In Istanbul, home to almost 3 million Kurds, Meral Danis Bestas, MP for Erzurum and a passionate advocate of the Kurdish cause, has been nominated as a candidate.  Candidates in other cities will also be campaigning against the nationalist CHP and the Islamo-nationalist AKP. In the cities of Kurdistan, the game will be played out between the pro-Kurdish DEM party and the AKP, with the other Turkish parties having few or no supporters.  Dissident AKP parties such as former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's Future Party and ex-Finance Minister Ali Babacan's Democracy and Progress Party, which are more receptive to Kurdish cultural and linguistic demands, will field candidates in the hope of capturing part of the conservative Kurdish electorate that previously voted for the AKP.

Another demand is being heard in Kurdistan during this campaign.  Civil society is calling for an end to the armed conflict between the Turkish state and the PKK, and a return to the peace process for a peaceful settlement of the conflict that is poisoning the political, cultural, economic and security life of the region's inhabitants.  On February 24, Diyarbakir's associations and NGOs, meeting at the initiative of the city's Protection and Solidarity Platform, drew up a joint declaration entitled: "Let the guns fall silent!”. The statement was read out by the President of the Diyarbakir Chamber of Physicians, Mrs. Elif Turan, at the Diyarbakir Chamber of Commerce and Industry headquarters, in front of the press, audio-visual media and NGO representatives.  Recalling that "the Kurdish question has been raised since the creation of the (Turkish) Republic, and that in the course of the confrontations of the last 40 years, it has become a "historical, social and political question", the statement notes that "the security-based political approach has proved to be erroneous, and recourse to violence is not a solution, and that these approaches have resulted in the question not being spoken of in recent times, holding it to be almost non-existent, only reappearing in the public debate on the occasion of election campaigns".

As the declaration points out, "the failure to resolve the Kurdish question is at the root of many of Turkey's problems.  Its resolution requires the silencing of weapons and the drafting of a new civil constitution".  All successive Turkish constitutions, including the current one, have been imposed by the military.  The signatories criticize the state's assimilationist policies, and the constraints still weighing on the free expression of the Kurdish language in the arts, in education and in the public arena.  They draw attention to the considerable ecological damage caused by the armed conflict, and the massive human rights violations committed in the name of this conflict. Criminalizing even the statements of elected deputies and mayors, and replacing them with appointed officials, violates the fundamental rights of the region's citizens to freely elect their representatives, and undermines their confidence in the democratic system.  The declaration calls for a new peace process with the participation of all civil society players, drawing lessons from the experiences of other peoples.

For its part, the Democratic Party has issued a statement commemorating the ninth anniversary of the peace process between the Turkish government and the PKK known as the Dolmabahce Peace Agreement. "The way out of the multiple crises in which Turkey finds itself depends on defending the historic Kurdish peace with courage and determination," reads the Dem party's statement.

On the domestic front, the month's news was dominated by commemorations of the anniversary of the terrible earthquake of February 6, 2023, which killed over 53,000 people and destroyed or heavily damaged 227,000 buildings, including 637,000 apartments.  The Turkish president, who was campaigning at the time, had repeatedly promised to build 319,000 new homes within a year.  At the beginning of February, only 3,000 lucky people selected by lottery were able to benefit from a new home out of the 46,000 that would be under construction and, according to government promises, delivered by the end of 2024. In the meantime, earthquake survivors are living in container camps. In some cities, such as the ancient city of Antioch (Antalya), the ruins have yet to be completely cleared.

Survivors attempt to sue those responsible for the disaster. According to Turkish Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc, quoted by the New York Times on February 6, to date 275 lawsuits against entrepreneurs, real estate developers and architect-engineers of the destroyed real estate and hotel complexes are underway. It is unknown how long these trials will last and whether they will result in convictions. According to the NGO Human Rights Watch, to date no state representative, no mayor, no municipal elected official has been prosecuted. Complacent building permits issued to developers close to power and deficiencies in technical controls have been denounced by local NGOs and disaster victims, but the Turkish justice system has not yet initiated any prosecution in this regard (See pp16-19) .

The economic situation continues to deteriorate. Inflation, officially at 65%, is breaking records. The Turkish lira continues its fall: 1 euro is now worth more than 34 LT and the US dollar is 32 LT. The Central Bank interest rate is 45%. The governor of the latter, Ms. Hafize Gaye Erkan, a former Goldman Sachs employee, presented as a “wonder woman” who would save the Turkish economy, restore the confidence of foreign investors, bring inflation down to single digits, did not could not perform a miracle and, tired of fighting, had to resign. She was replaced by her deputy Fatih Karahan, a neo-liberal economist (See p. 8).

Furthermore, the growing Islamization of public education is alerting the secular part of the population. Imam-Hatip religious colleges and high schools, supposed to train imams and preachers, abound and are experiencing exponential growth. In 1949, Turkey had only one establishment of this type, training around fifty people. In 2002, when Erdogan came to power, himself trained in an Imam-Hatip, there were 450. Today, the country has 5,147. Its graduates are now admitted to all universities and not no longer only in theological faculties. In ordinary public high schools, the teaching content is increasingly conservative and Islamo-nationalist. Secular parents who still had the means try to prevent their children from this indoctrination by sending them to expensive private schools that are insufficient in number (See Le Monde, February 23).

Externally, the Turkish president continues his activism in all directions. He wants to pose as a champion of the Palestinian cause, to unite the Islamic world behind him while continuing his lucrative trade with the Jewish state. Apart from his Qatari friend, no Arab or Muslim head of state seems to listen to his diatribes and his incantations. His offer to mediate for the release of the Israeli hostages also found no takers, with Hamas preferring to deal with Qatar and Egypt. However, he was able to make an official visit to Egypt on February 4 in order to normalize tense relations since Marshal Sissi's coup d'état (See Le Monde, February 15). Finally, his appeals to “his friend Putin” also went unanswered. The visit of the Turkish president to Turkey announced by Ankara as “imminent” has been postponed indefinitely. Small consolation, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov is expected to go to the Antalya Diplomatic Forum in early March. The announced visit to Iraq has not yet materialized either, but after Iraqi Sunni leaders, Turkey is now starting to court Shiite militias. Thus, Falih Al-Fayyadh, the head of the Popular Mobilization Units (UMP) supported by Iran, was received in Ankara and had a meeting with the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hakan Fidan. The press release published by the Turkish government does not provide any details on the content of this meeting. Fidan previously visited Baghdad in 2023 and maintains frequent communications with Sunni and Turkmen politicians, reflecting Turkey's strong involvement in Iraq's internal affairs. We know that militia leader Al-Fayyadh has been on the United States' red list since 2021 for charges related to human rights violations.



The United States has retaliated with a series of attacks in Syria and Iraq against the installations of pro-Iranian militias held responsible for the death, on January 28, of three American soldiers in a base in the Jordanian desert, on the border between Iraq and Syria.

The first phase of these reprisals decided by the American president began on February 2, the day the three American soldiers were buried. It targeted seven pro-Iranian militia sites (four in Syria, three in Iraq) where, according to the Pentagon, 85 targets were destroyed by 125 precision missiles. These are believed to be the command centers of the Revolutionary Guards and their affiliated militias. The sites targeted and destroyed are located in the Iraqi province of al-Anbar and in the Syrian province of Deir-ez-Zor, along the road axis used to transfer Iranian weapons to Syria. In deciding on this "measured and proportionate response that avoids civilian casualties", President Biden declared that "the United States does not want conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world. But let those who wish to do us harm know this: if you touch an American, we will respond" (see Le Monde, February 3).

While stressing Iran's responsibility for the actions of pro-Iranian Iraqi militias, Washington refrained from any bombing inside Iranian territory in order to avoid an escalation with incalculable consequences. In fact, Teheran had ample time to evacuate the Iranian Revolutionary Guards from its forward bases in Syria, in anticipation of the American reprisals it had publicly announced at the end of January. The guarding of these bases has been left to Afghan militias recruited by Iran from miserable refugee camps with the promise of a good salary and regularization of their stay in Iran. According to a report in the New York Times on February 19, the 16 militiamen killed and 25 wounded in the American bombardment were Afghans enlisted in the Fatemiyoun brigades (named after Fatima, daughter of the Prophet and wife of his cousin Ali, revered by the Shiites). Their bodies, repatriated to Iran, were discreetly and unceremoniously buried (see pp. 62-63).

For its part, the Iraqi government declared a three-day national mourning period.

On February 7, the US military command for the Middle East, CENTCOM, announced that it had "conducted a unilateral strike in Iraq in response to attacks against members of the US military killing a senior Ketaeb Hezbollah commander responsible for planning and directly participating in attacks against US forces in the region". Iraq confirmed that a drone had fired three rockets against a car in an eastern Baghdad neighborhood, killing two leaders of the Hezbollah Brigades. This powerful pro-Iranian Shiite militia is believed to be responsible for most of the 165 or so attacks since mid-October targeting the bases of the international coalition against ISIS. It was later revealed that the US strike had in fact killed three people, including Abu Baqer al-Saadi, the main Iraqi Hezbollah militia leader, and two of his bodyguards.

The assassination of this militia leader in the middle of the Iraqi capital provoked the anger of the militias grouped within the Hachd-e Chaabi and theoretically integrated into the Iraqi army. In fact, although Iraq pays the salaries and equipment of these militias, they are organized by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and answer to their instructions. Some of these militias, such as the Hezbollah Brigade, are on the US list of terrorist organizations. Caught between two fires - Washington's impatience with Baghdad's inability to put an end to the militias' activities, and strong Iranian pressure to drive the Americans and their allies in the International Coalition out of Iraq - the Iraqi government is making noisy anti-American gestures. It has denounced "the grave violation of Iraqi sovereignty" and threatened to rapidly terminate the anti-ISIS Coalition's mission in Iraq. The Iraqi parliament held a "consultative session" on February 7 to discuss "the expulsion of American forces from Iraq". Only 77 deputies from pro-Iranian Shiite parties attended the session, which was boycotted by Kurdish, Sunni and some Shiite deputies. An Iraqi-American military committee has been set up to discuss the timetable for the announced withdrawal. However, neither the Americans nor the Iraqis seem to be in a hurry. A precipitous withdrawal of the Coalition and a deterioration in U.S.-Iraqi relations risk further destabilizing Iraq and pushing it further into the arms of Iran. The precedent of an American withdrawal in 2011 under President Obama, when Iraq was still very fragile, led to the emergence of Daech and the establishment of the Islamic Caliphate over a third of Iraqi territory, including Mosul, Iraq's second city. Daech, though weakened, still has a strong presence in the Sunni Arab provinces. An untimely withdrawal of the international coalition could also destabilize Kurdistan, whose autonomy and pro-Western leanings are resented by the Iranian regime.

Neither the Baghdad government nor the pro-Shiite militias are protesting against the Turkish army's routine bombardments in Kurdistan, or the departure of its troops occupying part of Iraqi territory. According to the MONITOR website, in 2023 Turkey carried out over 1,500 attacks in Iraqi Kurdistan (see p.69). This does not prevent Iraq from cordially receiving the Turkish Defense Minister, Foreign Minister and head of the intelligence services in Baghdad to discuss "security cooperation" on the backs of the Kurds and grandiose economic projects such as the construction of a railroad linking the Iraqi port of Fao, on the Arabian-Persian Gulf, to the Turkish port of Mersin, on the Mediterranean, to connect Iraq to Turkey and Europe.

The American warning shot against the militias seems to have had the expected effect, at least for a while. Militia attacks on Coalition bases and on Kurdistan have ceased since February 4, and Iran, for its part, is being more cautious (see the New York Times of January 27) at a time when it is devoting most of its efforts to speeding up its nuclear program in order to secure the Islamic regime. It does not want to give pretexts to an American intervention that could delay or even ruin its projects.

The Kurds remain very worried. An untimely departure of the International Coalition would leave them at the mercy of Iran and Turkey. In addition to the financial crisis provoked and skilfully maintained by Baghdad, there would be security uncertainties with far-reaching consequences. Driven by this concern for the future, Kurdish leaders are multiplying their opportunities to meet Western leaders, inform them, alert them to their situation and ask for their support. After the Kurdistan Prime Minister's high-profile visit to Davos, it was the turn of the Region's President, Nechirvan Barzani, to attend the Munich Security Conference, held from February 16 to 18, where he met the UN Secretary General, the Iraqi Prime Minister, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs and others, the British Foreign and Defense Ministers, the German Defense Minister, the Greek Prime Minister, the King of Jordan, the Armenian Prime Minister, the Azeri President, and the Foreign Ministers of Turkey and Qatar, as well as the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, Celeste Wallander, representing the Secretary of Defense, who was absent for health reasons. On February 26, a Kurdish delegation headed by the Prime Minister of Kurdistan, Masrour Barzani, met in Washington with the US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, who reaffirmed US support for its Kurdish allies. He also expressed his country's concern about recent decisions by Iraq's Federal Supreme Court encroaching on the Kurdistan Region's prerogatives.

On February 22, this Court ruled that the Kurdistan electoral law, which reserves a quota of 11 seats in the Kurdistan Parliament for Kurdistan's ethnic and religious minorities, including Assyro-Chaldeans, Turkmen and Armenians, was "unconstitutional". This quota had been adopted by the Kurdistan Parliament in 1992 in order to ensure political representation for these long-hampered minorities and to respect the diversity of Kurdistan's population. This ruling provoked a veritable outcry from these minorities, which the Kurds call "components" of Kurdish society so as not to undermine or stigmatize anyone. The Federal Court, which itself has no legal basis as the law establishing it has not yet been drafted by the Federal Parliament, is acting in a centralizing spirit inherited from the previous regime and in line with the political interests of the pro-Iranian Shiite parties, thus exacerbating the political crisis that Iraq is going through. The same court also invalidated another article of the Kurdish electoral law, considering the entire Kurdistan Region as a single electoral district. It called for each of the Region's four governorates to become a constituency. It also entrusts the Iraqi High Electoral Commission with the organization of elections for the Regional Parliament, whereas until now, under federalism, it was the Kurdistan High Electoral Commission that assumed this function. The Court also ordered the Federal Government to pay the salaries and pensions of the Region's civil servants and employees directly.

This "legal" power grab, aimed at unravelling the federal system and stripping Kurdistan of its autonomy, is part of a broader strategy by the predominantly Shiite government to weaken and suffocate Kurdistan economically and politically, whose pluralism and pro-Western leanings are so displeasing to Iran that its propaganda constantly portrays it as a "second Israel". Surrounded, the Iraqi Kurds have no recourse in a regime which, despite the clear federal provisions of a constitution adopted in 2005 by over 85% of Shiite Iraqis, is seeking to return to an authoritarian, anti-democratic centralism.

Beyond the Kurds, foreign investors are also beginning to worry about this increasingly authoritarian and therefore unpredictable system. The Kurdistan Region Petroleum Industry Association (APIKUR) has reiterated its call to US officials and Congress to pressure Baghdad to lift the suspension of oil exports from Kurdistan. In a recent statement, APIKUR highlighted the significant impact of the shutdown on international oil markets, estimating a $10 billion loss for investors. The association called for a reconsideration of future aid to Iraq, linking it to government interference to prevent US companies from making their investments in the country. Despite assurances from Iraqi officials regarding the resumption of oil exports, no concrete progress has been made, resulting in a substantial financial setback of over ten billion dollars for Iraq and the Kurdistan Federal Region.



According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEEA), based in Vienna (Austria), Iran has significantly increased its stock of enriched uranium in recent months. Its stocks now amount to 27 times the limit authorized by the 2015 Vienna international agreement according to two IAEA documents cited by AFP on February 26. These stocks amounted to 5,325 kg as of February 10 according to one of these documents, including 121.5 kg of uranium enriched to 60%, close to the 90% necessary to make a nuclear bomb (Liberation of February 26). Iran now has the means to produce several atomic bombs in the short term.

The Director General of the IAEA, Rafael Grossi, refers to “public statements in Iran on the technical capabilities for producing nuclear weapons” which “reinforce concerns on this subject”. The capacity of the UN Agency, several inspectors of which have been banned by Tehran since last September, to control the nuclear program is increasingly degraded and limited.

Iran seems to want to take maximum advantage of the current international context where the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza monopolize the attention of the international community to move forward decisively in its strategy of access to atomic weapons. Many observers are convinced that Tehran encouraged its ally Hamas to launch its October 7 attack against Israel both to sabotage the announced normalization of relations between the Jewish state and Saudi Arabia and to keep Israelis and Americans busy in the quagmire. Palestinian. Adopting a low profile in this conflict to avoid a direct and devastating confrontation with the United States, Tehran is mobilizing all its resources to equip itself with nuclear weapons by the next American election in order to protect the Islamic regime. At the same time, it is also continuing its ambitious civil nuclear program. The head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI) announced on February 1 the construction of a nuclear power plant complex in Sirik, on the Strait of Hormuz, consisting of four individual plants with a capacity combined production of 5,000 megawatts. The stated objective is to achieve a production capacity of 20,000 megawatts of nuclear energy by 2041, making Iran the 6th civilian nuclear power in the world behind the United States, France, China and Russia. and South Korea. The country currently has only one nuclear power plant in Bushehr with a capacity of 3,000 megawatts built by Russia.

Furthermore, the OIEA announced on February 5 the start of construction of a new nuclear reactor on the Isfahan site which already has three reactors (Le Figaro of February 6). A country rich in oil and gas, already a noted ballistic power, Iran wants to quickly become a nuclear power recognized and feared in the region. The mobilization of a considerable part of the country's resources in its military programs and in the financing of a vast network of Shiite militias across the Middle East is contested by the vast majority of the population affected by the economic crisis and the strong devaluation of the Iranian currency. This protest, harshly repressed, obscured by the public media, must not find a sounding board in Parliament. This is why all the candidates, even the slightest suspected of reformism, were excluded from the parliamentary elections of March 1, where only ultra-conservatives devoted body and soul to the regime are authorized to run. The opposition parties but also many personalities from the Islamic Republic such as ex-president Mohammad Khatami, the daughter of ex-president Rafsanjari, the leaders of the Green Movement, all Kurdish parties have called for a boycott of this electoral parody.

The scale of the repression, the absence of prospects and hope for change are pushing more and more young Iranians to commit suicide.

There is public talk of an epidemic of suicides. In 2023, more than 120,000 suicide attempts have been recorded (See Rudaw February 14). The suicide rate now stands at 7 per 100,000 inhabitants. Mainly affecting adolescents and students, this epidemic of despair would also affect workers and fathers who are no longer able to provide for their children.

The Iranian regime considers these ultimate acts of despair as deviations from the straight path of Islam and believes it can remedy them through preaching and repression. This raged throughout the month of February. Here are some of the highlights of this repression in Iranian Kurdistan.

The NGO Hengaw reported that Iranian security forces have killed six kolbars and injured more than 50 since January 1, mainly near Baneh and Nowsud. Meanwhile, the regime arrested twelve activists and civilians in Marivan, Tehran, Shinno, Piranshahr, Salas-e Babajani and Diwandara. The regime's latest wave of repression follows a public strike on January 30 to protest the execution of four Kurdish political prisoners.

The Islamic Revolutionary Court of Urmia sentenced to death a Kurdish imam from Bokan, Mohammed Khezrnazhad. Mohammed was imprisoned for more than a year for "corruption on Earth" for criticizing Iranian authorities during a ceremony honoring a protester who died in 2022. On February 13, Safa A'aeli, the uncle of the late Jîna Amini, was sentenced to five years and four months in prison. According to the family's lawyer, Me Saleh Nkbakht, part of this sentence was suspended, he should serve a total of three years and three months in prison (Release of February 15). The regime also sentenced a Saqqez activist named Samira Ahmadi to three years in prison, a Kurdish athlete named Sherko Hijazim to six years in prison, and a Kurdish language teacher named Azad Amini to three years in prison. In mid-February, at the same time, Iranian border guards shot and killed a Kurdish border porter (kolbar) and injured five others in separate incidents near Baneh. The Kurdistan Human Rights Network reported that another kolbar died of frostbite near Marivan.

Iranian authorities arrested dozens of civilians in Kurdistan, including ten Kurdish teenagers in Jwanro, for celebrating the defeat of the Iranian football team in the Asian Cup. Public celebrations of national team defeats have been a common form of protest, particularly when Team USA beat Iran in the World Cup. According to the NGO Hengaw, other detainees include an artist and two activists in Senna, two activists in Kamyaran and six individuals in Marivan, Kamyaran, Dewalan, Qorveh and Jwanro, accused of anti-government posts on social media or activism. In North Khorasan province, the regime arrested four authors of a Kurdish song called “Homeland”. Simultaneously, the Islamic Revolutionary Court sentenced three Kurds from Saqqez to long prison terms, ranging from two to three and a half years, for commemorating the death of Jîna Amini.

On February 24, Iranian border guards injured twenty Kurdish border porters (kolbars) in Nowsud, southern Iranian Kurdistan. The NGO Hengaw reported that Iranian authorities also seized the kolbars' cargo and that the injured kolbars were transported to a hospital in Pawa. At the same time, the regime arrested a Kurdish activist, Dana Lanjawi, in Marivan and two Kurdish civilians, Ako Mohamedonia and Zana Minbari, in Senna. For its part, the Salmas Islamic Revolutionary Court sentenced former protester Shahin Wasaf to death for “espioning for Israel”. Another Islamic revolutionary court in Khorasan-e Razavi province sentenced a 65-year-old Kurd to 15 years in prison for protesting the deaths of civilians.

On February 20, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, in coordination with the United Kingdom, announced new sanctions against Mohammad Reza Falahzadeh, deputy commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and member of Yemen's Houthi group. In a press release, the Treasury Department said the sanctions are intended to "target efforts" by the IRGC's Quds Force to evade U.S. sanctions and participate in attacks in the region.

Another symbolic American sanction: on February 10, the accounts of Iranian “supreme guide” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei were deleted from Facebook and Instagram due to his recurring calls for violence and hatred (See p. 35)



Lacking anti-aircraft defenses, Syria's Kurdish forces are increasingly under attack from Turkish and Iranian drones targeting their installations and infrastructure, as well as fighters who have distinguished themselves in the war against ISIS. The US Air Force intervenes against attacks by ISIS or pro-Iranian militias, but never against the murderous Turkish drones that cooperate freely and with impunity.

On February 5, Iranian-backed militias attacked a Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) training academy in the Al Omar oil field with an errant munition and killed at least six SDF members. The SDF said the attack was launched from a location in Deir ez Zor that is under the control of the Assad regime and promised to retaliate.

In an interview with Reuter's, the General Commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) General Mazloum Abdi underlined the lack of solidarity of the International Coalition Allies against ISIS and demanded that the USA finally provide the SDF with an anti-aircraft defense system to neutralize future drone attacks. A public and solemn request that once again highlights the double standards of Western countries, which rightly provide the Ukrainians with substantial resources for their defense while denying their Kurdish allies, who have made enormous sacrifices in the joint fight against ISIS (over 14,000 dead), a minimum of anti-aircraft resources for defense against drones and air attacks.

Elsewhere, the SDF concluded a week-long anti-ISIS operation inside al Hol camp, which continues to house thousands of ISIS members and their relatives. According to the SDF, 37 terrorists were arrested and a large quantity of weapons and ammunition seized. Simultaneously, the FDS freed a Yezidi woman and two of her children from the camp. The freed Yezidi woman was one of the 5,000 women enslaved by ISIS in 2014. A Turkish drone strike killed four members of the internal security forces (Asayesh) of the Autonomous Administration of Northern and Eastern Syria (AANES) on February 9. On February 11, the SDF announced that Turkish mercenaries had killed a member of the SDF near Manbij. "This attack, as well as the previous aggression, was in perfect harmony with the activity of ISIS and in its service, as well as a clear tendency to hinder the efforts of the security forces in their ongoing operations to control security in the Al Hol camp. "said AANES.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that Turkish intelligence agents had arrested two civilians in occupied Afrin. SOHR went on to claim that Turkey and its militiamen arrested 32 people, committed at least 70 human rights violations and felled hundreds of olive trees in 2024.

On February 10, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that Iranian-backed militias had twice attacked US forces in Deir ez Zor with rockets and drones, but had caused no casualties. On the evening of February 12, several local sources in Deir ez Zor reported further US strikes against pro-Iranian militias in the region. At the same time, the FDS issued a statement claiming that Assad regime militias had killed four FDS members near Deir ez Zor. Meanwhile, on February 18, a Turkish drone targeted a clinic in Qamishli, resulting in the deaths of two female commanders of the Kurdish Women's Defense Units (YPJ). The YPJ stress that the fallen female commanders played a crucial role in the fight against Daech jihadists in the region. The Autonomous Administration of Northern and Eastern Syria (AANES) describes the attack as a "clear message" of Turkish support for ISIS. Finally, Turkish-backed factions arrested thirty-two civilians in January, demanding ransom and confiscating their property.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) foiled an attack by Assad regime-backed militias in the province of Deir Ez Zor. The SDF reported that a group of militants, backed by Assad's security forces, had attempted to infiltrate three towns: Diban, Shafa and Kashma.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have foiled an attack by Assad regime-backed militias in the province of Deir Ez Zor. The SDF reported that a group of militants, backed by Assad's security forces, had attempted to infiltrate three towns: Diban, Shafa and Kashma. In other news, the House of Representatives passed the anti-normalization law against the Assad regime with a significant majority of votes. The bill awaits Senate approval before being sent to the President for signature. Once passed, the bill will prevent the normalization of US relations with the Assad regime and extend the sanctions imposed on the regime until 2032.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) reported the arrest of sixteen Islamic State (ISIS) jihadists on February 25 in Hassaké. The detainees are believed to have been involved in attacks against the SDF or to have provided logistical support to the terrorist organization. Earlier in the week, the SDF, with the support of the US-led coalition, arrested a high-ranking ISIS terrorist, Hussein al-Hussein. Meanwhile, US Central Command (CENTCOM) revealed the repatriation of "99 women and children" displaced from the Al Hol and Roj camps to the Kyrgyz republic. The two camps are still home to many ISIS families after the defeat of the "caliphate" in 2019. In Qamishli, a Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) office was targeted by a bomb, without causing any casualties.

On February 28, consecutive Turkish air strikes on four vehicles near Direk (al-Malikiyah) killed three Christian officers of the Internal Security Forces (Asayesh) of the Autonomous Administration of Northern and Eastern Syria (AANES). Asayesh claimed that the initial strikes targeted two vehicles and that subsequent strikes targeted the rapid reaction force sent to help the victims and the vehicle transporting the wounded from the scene of the attacks. In addition, Asayesh said it had arrested 13 Daesh terrorists, 31 Assad regime militants and three members of Turkish-backed groups during security operations in the Al Hasakah governorate. Simultaneously, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) released images of the seizure of twenty million captagon pills in Manbij. The FDS claimed that the drugs came from the Assad regime-controlled coastal town of Tartous. The Assad regime and pro-Assad militias produce and smuggle captagon to generate revenue.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH) reported thirty-seven arbitrary arrests and abductions carried out by Turkish intelligence services and their Syrian mercenaries in the occupied region of Afrin in February. At the end of February, twelve Kurds, including elderly people, were reportedly targeted for their alleged association with the former Kurdish administration prior to the Turkish invasion of Afrin.