Report of a Kidnapping

By Nashaat Zaza, Member of the Politburo of the Democratic Party of Kurdistan-Syria (KDP-S)

On October 5, 2017 I attended a meeting of the KDP-S in Dêrik (Arabic: Al-Malikiyah). Also present were some members of the Central Committee, as well as other members of the politburo. During our meeting a colleague called us in order to inform us that our meeting was observed by a patrol of the YPG since one and a half hours. A short time later we finished our meeting. Due to the warning, we were prepared for what awaited us when leaving the house.

We drove away from the building with our cars when after only five hundred meters we were stopped by a white pick-up and a white van with darkened windows. Several masked YPG members in uniform got out of the vehicles. The militia told us to get out and to hand over our mobile phones and ID cards. While they were constantly making phone calls, they searched our cars. After the YPG members had checked everything, one of them asked me, “Nashaat, where is your phone?” I said, “I do not remember! I either left it at my house or with friends.” Since I had already hidden my phone before the check, they could not find it.

We were then forced to get on the van. They took a group photo of us and with irony one of the YPG members said “in memory!” Only the two women who were with us were allowed to stay in our cars and were not photographed. One of the masked ones finally gave me my passport and said, “You can go with the women, but you are forbidden to drive to Dêrik again!” I got into the car and drove slowly in the direction of Dirbêsî (Arab Ad-Darbasiyah). First, I brought a colleague to her home. Two of my colleagues were driving in two cars behind me in order to be on site in case of other incidents. And indeed, it happened exactly what we had feared.

Shortly after we left Dêrik, another patrol was waiting for us and again demanded our ID cards. My party colleague in the second car informed the militia that shortly before we had already shown the ID cards to another patrol. By phone the YPG members inquired about this statement and my colleague was able to continue shortly thereafter. However, they let me off and demanded my cell phone. I replied, “I do not have a cell phone.” Four young men searched me and my car. After that, they took me to a van. Before I got in, a bag was put over my head so that I did not know where we were going. While driving, they asked me questions about our meeting. I replied that this was not an official meeting, but that we had just visited a party colleague who had an accident recently. One of the kidnapper said, “You’re lying! A visit lasts at most one hour.” I replied that we had a detailed talk about the general political situation in Syria, Turkey and Russia, the regime and the militias. Again someone told me: “You are lying!” and hit me in the face. He continued: “Listen carefully! We know about your activities. You are prohibited from entering Dêrik. You will not understand that, except with death.” All this happened while driving. Another YPG member added: “You are talking negatively about the media and about the martyrs.” I replied: “I did not say anything negative. You cannot prove that.” He hit me once more in the face and shouted at me until we stopped. 

At first, I was not able orientate myself and did not know where I was. They forced me to get out. One of the kidnappers charged his gun and said: “Only through death will you understand.” He pulled me away about ten meters from the car and ordered another one to pull the sack off my head. Then he told me: “Get in!” I was standing next to my own car. The YPG member returned the key and my ID card and said: “If we discover that you entered Dêrik again, you will feel the consequences. Now, get off!”