Human Rights Watch has issued a report detailing human rights violations committed in the areas controlled by the Democratic Union Party (PYD)- an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Turkey. The report documents the arbitrary arrests of those who oppose the PKK and violations committed whilst they were detained, as well as cases of kidnappings, unresolved killings and the use of children in their police force and armed wing, “The People’s Protection Unit” (YPG).
The PYD and other parties in alliance with it formed a transitional administration in January 2014 in the areas of Afreen, Ain al-Arab and al-Jazeera. They formed councils which mimicked governmental ministries and have come up with a provisional new constitution.
Whilst the PYD allowed HRW to visit these three areas which fall under their control, HRW only visited al-Jazeera due to security concerns. The HRW team visited two prisons in February 2014 and was also given the opportunity to communicate with officials, prisoners and others with no restrictions.
The report, called “Under Kurdish Rule: Abuses in PYD run enclaves in Syria”, pointed to the abuses that prisoners were subjected to by the police run by the PYD (also known as Asayis) which included beating and torture, and the death of some prisoners.
The report also documented the recruitment of children in the Asayis forces, despite the PYD’s public commitment to release all children from its forces.
The report also investigated the violence which took place in the city of Amooda (Al-Hassaka) on 27/6/2013, in which the YPG shot at protestors who opposed the PYD, resulting in the death of three men. Two other men were killed in vague circumstances that night, and three other men were killed by the PYD the next day. In addition, around 50 members of the Yeketi Party and those who oppose the PYD were arrested in Amooda, and were subjected to beatings in the Military Centre.
The Report can be accessed here.