No evidence of Kurdish massacre by
Islamic-Jihadists in Syria: Fact-finding team
September 3, 2013
Kurdish fighters (L) from the People's Defense Units
Islamic-Jihadists (R) from Al Nusra group linked to al-Qaeda.
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ERBIL-Hewlęr, Kurdistan region 'Iraq',— A
Kurdish fact-finding mission says in its report that
it found no evidence to back media claims of Kurdish
massacres by jihadist groups, which are mixed up in
Syria’s messy civil war.
According to a report by the nine-member committee,
most witnesses said they had seen between 17-25
bodies, after clashes erupted this summer between
the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and
jihadist fighters of the Jabhat al-Nusrah and
Islamic State of Iraq.
The report has not been officially released, but an
advance copy was obtained by Rudaw. It says that
only a few people reported seeing as many as 80
bodies after the clashes.
“Those who spoke to the committee did not estimate
the death toll at 450 persons,” says the mission,
referring to media reports which had been released
by the PYD, whose affiliation with the Kurdistan
Workers Party (PKK) and de-facto control of Syria’s
Kurdish regions has raised tensions with the
majority of other groups.
Things also are complicated by claims of the
PYD’s backdoor connections with the regime of Bashar
al-Assad, which the Syrian opposition is fighting to
topple. Until the recent clashes with the PYD, the
Kurds had largely stayed out of the civil war.
Reports of a mass killing surfaced after media
footage of an alleged Kurdish massacre – reporting
that 450 villagers had been murdered by jihadist --
was released by the PYD,www.ekurd.net
and shown by Iranian and Russian media. The film was
later shown to be false, and unrelated to the Syrian
But Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani urged
the formation of a committee to conduct a thorough
investigation. The team, from the main Kurdish
political parties across the Middle East, was
entrusted with ascertaining PYD claims of a
The committee spent five days visiting several
locations in Syria’s Kurdish regions, and
interviewing dozens of people from places where the
massacre had allegedly happened.
Team members interviewed at least 50 people,
including men, women in children, from Tel-Haran and
Tel-Hasil, two locations where the PYD had claimed
the killings had happened.
The report said that the committee could not
actually visit the two areas due to war and security
risks, but still managed to interview people from
both places from other locations.
The findings also noted that the team had failed to
visit the town of Amude, where the PYD’s armed wing,
People’s Defense Units (YPG) in July opened fire at
fellow Kurdish protesters and killed seven.
“Two of the committee members affiliated with the
PYD and PKK refused to visit the area on the pretext
that what happened there was an internal problem and
there was no need for the committee to investigate
it,” the report indicated.
It described Syrian Kurdistan as a “dangerous
place,” adding that, “Instability and lack of
security forces many to leave their homes and
businesses every day.
“The situation is particularly dangerous for the
Christians, as dozens of them have been kidnapped,
including 48 in Hassaka and 15 in Qamishlo in the
past two months,” the team writes.
It says that the following groups have been involved
in attacks against the Kurds: The al-Nusrah Front,
Islamic State of Iraq, the Sham’s Freedom Fighters
and the Salahaddin Ayubi Divisions.
By Hevidar Ahmed - Rudaw
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