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.
Cooperation of PYD and regime
On October 22, the journalist Ahmed Sofi was arrested at a checkpoint by members of the PYD and taken to an unknown location. According to media reports, Ahmed Sofi had been detained for hours by the same group a few days earlier (SNHR, Rudaw, SMART News, ARK News). On October 23, a delegation of the Syrian regime, headed by prime minister Emad Chamis and seven ministers, visited the provinces Ar-Raqqah and Deir Deir ez-Zawr. During the visit the implementation of projects in the region was discussed. According to activists, the delegation installed a statue of Assad in the city of Deir ez-Zawr (SMART News).
On October 24, 2018, one hundred-two members of ISIS were released from prisons of the PYD in Al-Hasakah (ARK News, Rudaw, SMART News). On the same day, the PYD’s anti-terrorist units arrested ten people and confiscated four cars in the villages of Al-Jayef, Al-Andalus and in a refugee camps west of Ar-Raqqah (SMART News).
On October 23, 2018, the International Coalition sent another ninety trucks loaded with cars, weapons, ammunition and military equipment to the forces of the SDF in Deir ez-Zawr (SMART News). On October 28, a military convoy of the International Coalition, consisting of two hundred military vehicles, entered Al-Hasakah province and moved toward a US military base. Observers reported that some of the vehicles were loaded with tanks, cars and military equipment (SMART News).
Armed groups confiscate olive harvest in ʿAfrin
According to media reports, armed groups continue to threaten the local population in ʿAfrin. One of the groups has, for example, demanded twenty-five thousand US-Dollars for the release of an old man from the village of Ramdana near Janders in ʿAfrin (October 23, 2018, ARK News). In addition, the armed groups are seizing large parts of the olive harvest from farmers in ʿAfrin. In some cases, the entire harvest has been confiscated and farmers are prevented from selling their olive oil (24 October 2018, Rudaw). On October 28, gunmen attacked a women and her husband in their home in ʿAfrin and plundered all their valuables (ARK News).
Release of kidnapped women and children from As-Suwayda
Najib Abu Fakher, member of the Negotiation Committee for the release of the abducted women and children from As-Suwayda, stated on October 22, 2018 that a second group of abductees will be released. In return, thirty-five members of ISIS would be set free by the Syrian regime. Abu Fakher added that the Syrian regime is responsible for this exchange. According to Abu Fakher, after the forthcoming exchange another final exchange will take place, so that the negotiation plan will be completed (SMART News).