Two media outlets have been ordered closed and two journalists arrested by the autonomous administration in Kurdish-controlled northeast Syria, according to local reports. Kurdish broadcaster and news site Rudaw—based in Erbil, Iraq—was suspended from working in the enclave, known as Rojava, by a Feb. 5 order of the Autonomous Administration of North & East Syria. In a statement on its website, Rudaw Media Network called the order “a crime against freedom of the press in Western Kurdistan.” Rudaw is affiliated with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the ruling party of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government, which also operates as an internal opposition in Syria’s Rojava region.
Two journalists were also detained by Rojava authorities. The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) called on the local authorities to release the two, named as Sabri Mohammad Fakhri, a reporter for the local ARK-TV, and Bawer Malla Ahmad, with Yekiti Media website. The two were detained by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the military branch of the autonomous administration, in raids on their homes Feb. 5. Their whereabouts remain unknown, according to the SNHR.
The Rojava administration is led by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), widely considered to be an adjunct of the Turkey-based Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).The SDF, while in an uneasy allaince with Syrian dictator Bashar Assad (for instance, selling oil to the regime), continues to be backed militarily by the US. (The New Arab)
Photo: Sgt. Nicole Paese/US Army via Kurdistan24