Syria Media Roundup – October 8 to 14, 2018

In this Media Roundup, we collect weekly local news from Syria, which are published mainly in Arabic and Kurdish media. Our aim is to make these news accessible to a broader readership. The sources come from news channels that we consider the most trustworthy, though we cannot guarantee absolute reliability. The focus is on areas where mainly ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities live, such as ʿAfrin, Al-Qamishli and As-Suwayda.

Areas under PYD control

According to media reports of October 8, 2018, internally displaced people (IDPs), who settled in areas under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), suffer from poor medical care and epidemics (SMART News).

The transport department of the Self-Administration has issued a decree on October 9, 2018 banning taxi and bus drivers from bringing students to schools that teach the curriculum of the Syrian Regime (ARK News, Rudaw). The traffic department also announced that it would seize the vehicles of all vehicle owners who violated the decree (ARK News, Rudaw). On October 14, 2018, students and bus drivers in Al-Hasakah demonstrated against this practice of the Self-Administration (SMART News).

On October 10, according to media reports, the YPG seized the cargo of ten oil tankers (SMART News).

Forced Recruitment

Over the past week, there have been numerous arrests by PYD forces. There are rumors that those affected will eventually be forcibly recruited by PYD forces.

The Syrian Human Rights Network reported the forcible arrest of three civilians by members of the Self-Administration in the village of Al-Karama, east of the city of Raqqah on October 8. The persons arrested were taken to an unknown location. Three other civilians were arrested on October 9, 2018 in Salouk, near Raqqah, and also taken to an unknown location. Also on October 9, four civilians were arrested in the village of Abul Nitel, near Deir ez-Zawr. On October 12, 2018, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) detained twelve young people in Al-Tabqah. Again, it is expected that they will be forcibly recruited (SMART News). According to media reports of October 13, a 16-year-old girl from ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî) was kidnapped by YPG forces and forcibly recruited (ARK News).

Beside the news regarding arrests and recruitments, it has been reported that military reinforcements from the International Coalition arrived on October 9 at a military base near the Al-Tanak oil field in Deir ez-Zawr. The reinforcement included dozens of vehicles loaded with ammunition and thirty armored vehicles (SMART News).

Kidnappings in ʿAfrin

According to reports from ʿAfrin, Mannan Brimo was killed by torture on October 8, 2018 in a prison of the armed forces of the Syrian opposition. Brimo had been kidnapped six months earlier (Rudaw). The same day, members of the Ahrar al-Sham militia troops stormed the village of Karzil in the Shirawa area of ʿAfrin. They kidnapped the brothers Saleh, Ahmed and Fawzi Osman and took them to an unknown location (Rudaw). A report dated October 11 confirmed the abduction of Hussein Bozo, a well-known personality in ʿAfrin, by the Levant Front militia on October 6 (Rudaw).

An October 9, an article reports that the armed Syrian militias are stealing the olive harvest of the population. Allegedly, the militias use displaced persons from Idlib and Al-Ghouta to harvest the olives (ARK News).

As-Suwayda

On October 8, armed members of the Sheikh Al-Karama militia shot into the government building of As-Suwayda province. The background of the crime is the continued abduction of women and children from As-Suwayda by ISIS. The Al-Karama militia accuses the regime not to campaign for the release of the abductees (SMART News). Protesters participating in a sit-in for the release of the abductees issued a statement, condemning the Al-Karama militia’s attack (SMART News). In order to distance themselves from the crime, the demonstrators stopped their protest for forty-eight hours (SMART News). Meanwhile, members of the Syrian regime built concrete barriers around the provincial government building and the police headquarter (SMART News).