Corruption in Kobani; the Abdi dynasty

by Hedwig Kuijpers

Through the last years, the US government has backed the Syrian democratic forces in their fight against ISIS in North-East Syria. Their battle has led to the establishment of a semi-autonomous region in the country. A leading role in the establishment of ‘Rojava’ is held by general Mazloum Abdi, who is famous throughout the world as the Syrian Kurds’ posterboy.

Last week, I got tipped off by a contact in North-East Syria who told me I should investigate alleged corruption in Kobane. This person works at an office of the Autonomous Administration of North-East Syria in the border town, has small children, and thus wanted to stay anonymous. He told me a very interesting thing: The Abdi family (yes, you get that right, general Mazloum Abdi’s family) holds most governing positions in the city, which is obviously a sign of lack of democracy and corruption in the governing bodies of the self-administration.

In an interview with Shafaq, Mazloum Abdi himself addressed the issue of corruption and shortcomings within the self-administration this month, “The self-administration was established in war circumstances, and that was not easy… Several shortcomings must be addressed and we will work with self-management to address these issues”.

Abdi said that many people exploited the gap during the war for their interests and abused their positions and responsibilities, “We will work to avoid this phenomenon. We will assign specialists to follow up on this issue; we will never accept anyone taking advantage of their position for their interests”.

Further investigation showed he should start by sweeping in front of his own door.

At the website of a Kurdish corruption watchdog, المرصد الكردي لكشف الفساد في روج آفاي كردستان  (Kurdish Observatory to uncover corruption in Rojava Kurdistan) I discovered a very interesting complaint on Dara Abdi, Mazloum Abdi’s brother. Here is the translation from Arabic:

Dara Abdi, brother of General Mazloum Abdi, thanks to the help of Mazloum Abdi and the collusion of Halalat, he obtained millions of dollars in contracts with Americans in exchange for providing some services and providing food for the soldiers at the American headquarters south of Kobani, in the village of Kharab Ashak, and he recorded these contracts in the name of a friend and not in his name until what is revealed, but people here all know the truth. According to estimates, he got 50 million dollars and is currently in Ukraine with his cousin Mahmoud, who has been working with the mafia for many years. Dara Abdi, three months ago, went there to smuggle money to safety, open projects, and make papers for his family to move there after Turkish threats to the region. About the daughter of Abu Bashar (Dara’s wife), who was a Baathist leader, and before the war: he was appointed to the position of head of the Peasants’ Union in Kobani. After two years, Abu Bashar embezzled money and was transferred to court and imprisoned for a long time. At least, the regime used to have a court, unlike the slogans of these times. I am the brother of a martyr. I hope that you all copy and publish this to expose thieves everywhere there’s blood of the martyrs in the sand.

 

I found the person who posted this on facebook. He stated on his facebook page that he was threatened to remove this post, and wanted help to expose the truth.

Dara Abdi himself is a lawyer and active in multiple councils in Kobane, including the council for small businesses.

Faize Abdi, Mazloum Abdi’s sister, is apparently chairwoman of the Kobani People’s Assembly. As can be seen in a report by Turkish newspaper cumhuriyet. She was one of the six Syrian Kurds sent to Turkey on a diplomatical trip.
Another of Mazloum’s sisters, Roshen Abdi, is actually Kobani’s mayor! As you can see on the following images, a policy announced she signed and a news article:


The last Abdi sister with an influential position is Fawza Abdi, chairwoman of the Legislative Council of the Euphrates region. This council provides the region with laws.

It was also alleged that Mazloum Abdi’s younger brother Kurdo is currently working as the director of Kobane’s military hospital. Yet, further than him studying medicine in Ukraine during the war times, proof of this could not be found.

The family dynasty continues further than siblings. Mazloum Abdi’s cousin is the head of the Department of Construction and Public Works in all controlled areas. In the following newsarticle you can see him as the overseeing engineer in a multi-million dollar construction project.

Another cousin of Mazloum Abdi, Aziz Abdi, is the head of the bread factory, public ovens and bread distribution in the city.

Other allegations have been made on Mustafa Abdi and Khalifa Abdi, both cousins of Mazloum Abdi, yet these allegations have not been yet confirmed.

As you can see, it was fairly easy to prove that multiple family members of Mazloum Abdi hold influential positions in the town. The self-administration itself holds an ideology of democratic confederalism that is designed to specifically prevent corruption and ruling by clans, stepping away from feodal society. Mazloum Abdi himself accepted allegations of corruption inside the self-administration and vowed to address the issue. It seems he should start at home.

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