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Ethnic Cleansing in Tall Abyad? Characteristics of YPG and PYD rule in the areas captured from the IS

In June 2015, the People’s Defense Units (YPG) of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), with help from the US Air Force, was successful in capturing the city of Tall Abyad and the surrounding areas from the Islamic State (IS). In this context, the PYD and its People’s Defense Units were accused of carrying out grave human rights violations, including the charge of ethnic cleansing. This report addresses the question of how the PYD and the YPG operate in an area that differs significantly from regions such as Jazirah, ʿAfrin and ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), all under PYD administration since 2012, in that it is primarily Arab. The newly captured areas around the city is only ten percent Kurdish. A further fifteen percent is Turkmen. What methods and instruments does the PYD use to govern this region? What does the human rights record in this area look like? Were there large-scale ethnically motivated expulsions from the region? 

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Forcible recruitments and the deployment of child soldiers by the Democratic Union Party in Syria

On July 13, 2014, the legislative council for the canton of Jazirah, which was appointed by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), enacted a law on compulsory military service entitled the »Duty of Self-Defense«. The following report analyzes the text of the law and concerns itself with the recruiting practices of the PYD’s paramilitary, the People’s Defense Units (YPG), since the law was adopted.

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What does the Syrian-Kurdish Opposition want?
Politics between Erbil, Sulaymaniyah, Damascus, and Qandil

When the protests in Syria began in in the spring of 2011, many observers assumed that the Kurds would play a key role in the overthrow of the regime. Although the Kurdish opposition had fragmented into more than a dozen political parties, it was the best organized part of the Syrian opposition as a whole. In fact, the Kurdish opposition has played only a minor part in the uprisings thus far. The following report analyzes the reasons for this. In addition, it follows up on our report »Who is the Syrian-Kurdish opposition? The development of Kurdish parties, 1956—2011« and sketches the developments since October 2011. As new oppositional actors have entered the political arena with the youth groups and the Kurdish units within the Free Syrian Army (FSA), this report takes a broader definition of the term »opposition«.

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Who is the Syrian-Kurdish opposition?
The development of Kurdish parties, 1956‒2011

The purpose of this essay is to analyze the current landscape of Kurdish political parties in Syria, including their protagonists, their political goals, their concrete political actions, and their significance for society. Given the current situation, a political analysis of the Kurdish parties, which form a significant part of the Syrian opposition, is of considerable importance.

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Yazidi in Syria: Between acceptance and marginalization

Does the Syrian state persecute Yazidi on the basis of their faith? Can Yazidi live their faith in public? What is the relationship between the Muslim majority and the Yazidi minority? Following a brief introduction on the basics of the Yazidi faith and remarks on the Yazidi settlement areas in Syria, this report will attempt to answer these and similar questions.

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Decree 49 — Dispossession of the Kurdish population?
Commentary on the political implications and economic consequences of a decree

On September 10, 2008, the Syrian president issued Decree 49. The decree amended Statute 41 of October 26, 2004, which regulated the ownership, sale and lease of land in border regions. In Kurdish and pro-Kurdish circles, the decree was almost unanimously described as »anti-Kurdish«.

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Stateless Kurds in Syria - Illegal invaders or victims of a nationalistic policy?

With Decree No. 93 on August 23, 1962, the Syrian government ordered a special census for al-Hasakah province, which was carried out on October 5, 1962. As a result, approximately 120,000 Kurds lost their Syrian citizenship and with it, their basic civil rights.

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The »Al-Qamishli Uprising« - The beginning of a »new era« for Syrian Kurds?

In March 2004 violent mass demonstrations and anti-Syrian rallies took place in the Kurdish regions of Jazirah, ʿAfrin (Jabal al-Akrad) and ʿAyn al-ʿArab (Kobanî), as well as in Aleppo and Damascus.

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»Your grandfather will survive the operation, but not the stay in our intensive care unit.« - Remarks on the Syrian health care system

Health care in Syria has vastly improved since the 1970s, as evidenced by such indicators as average life expectancy.

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The ʿAmudah Cinema Fire of November 1960

The ʿAmudah cinema fire of November 13, 1960, in which several hundred Kurdish schoolchildren were burnt to death, is an event that is constantly mentioned in relation to the history of discrimination against the Kurdish population.

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The Kurdish Policy of the Syrian Government and the Development of the Kurdish Movement Since 1920

An estimated two million Kurds in Syria constitute the second largest ethnic group next to the Arabs in a total population of around twenty million.

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