The PKK terrorist group's Syrian affiliate the Democratic Union Party (PYD) has canceled Nevruz celebrations in parts of northern Syria that are under its control, citing alleged security reasons.
According to a report by Rudaw, a news agency in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), the PYD released a statement saying that Nevruz celebrations have been canceled due to security concerns in the region."With the aim of [ensuring] security and protecting the people, activities at the night of the Nevruz and setting fires have been prohibited," the statement read, adding that motorcycles will be prevented from driving in PYD-held areas between March 19-23 as well.
In Anatolia, Nevruz is known by different names such as "Sultan-i Nevruz," "Nevruz Sultan," "Mart Dokuzu" (The 9th of March) and "Mart Bozumu" (March Harvest). Although Nevruz Day is celebrated widely on March 21, it is also celebrated on March 20, March 22 and March 23 in some parts of the world.
During Nevruz celebrations, people light fires and jump over the flames three times, making wishes.
The PYD is known for its human rights violations. The terrorist group has committed acts of oppression in northern Syria for a long time.
A report published by the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) in January said the PYD had committed multiple human rights violations since the withdrawal of government forces in 2012, including ethnic cleansing and abuse targeting women, children and journalists.
Amnesty International released a report in October 2015 that cites similar accusations against the PYD's armed wing, the People's Protection Units (YPG), in areas under PYD control in northern Syria.
The PYD has sought to ethnically cleanse towns under its control that were mostly inhabited by Arabs. The YPG's actions amount to war crimes and that non-Kurdish; mostly Turkmen and Arab, inhabitants of villages in the de facto autonomous Kurdish administration were forced out of their homes.
Together with Arabs, other ethnic groups like Turkmens have also been targeted in al-Hassaka, according to the SNHR. In December, the head of the Syrian Turkmen Assembly, Abdurrahman Mustafa, said, "It has already been documented previously by international reports that the PYD has committed war crimes and violated human rights."