In this Media Roundup, we collect weekly local news from Syria, which is published mainly in Arabic and Kurdish media. Our aim is to make this 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.
Trade between PYD and the Regime
According to latest news, seizures continue to take place in areas under PYD control. On November 6, 2018, the SDF confiscated around 20,000 liters of diesel, which had been transported in five private cars. According to sources of SMART News, SDF members loaded the diesel into their cars (SMART News). On November 8, 45 cotton-loaded trucks moved from PYD-controlled northeastern Syria toward the area under the regime’s control. On November 10, around 60 diesel-loaded trucks crossed the border between PYD and regime (SMART News).
Mobilization on the Turkish-Syrian border
On November 6, 2018, the Turkish army shelled a village between al-Qahtaniyah (Tirbesipî) and al-Qamishli in northeastern Syria (ARK News). On November 7, 2018, the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria published a statement suspecting the Turkish army of preparing for fighting in northeastern Syria. Accordingly, several Syrian armed factions are said to be preparing in cooperation with Turkey for a major attack (Rudaw, ARK News). On November 8, 2018, ARK News reported that Turkey is mobilizing forces on the Syrian border, near the Syrian city of Tall Abyad. It seems there are also special units of the Turkish army among the mobilized forces, as well as rockets and armored vehicles (ARK News). After the arrival of Turkish troops at the border crossing Ceylanpınar on November 11, the PYD sent military reinforcements to Ra’s al-‘Ayn (Serê Kaniyê) (ARK News).
Demographic restructuring in ʿAfrin
According to a report of November 6, 2018, the Turkish authorities are initiating further measures to change the demographic composition in ʿAfrin. In order to resettle internally displaced persons from other parts of Syria in ʿAfrin, the local Turkish authorities have founded a housing association (Rudaw).
On November 7, 2018, clashes broke out between the armed factions of Jaysh al-Islam (“Army of Islam”) and Jaysh al-Sharqiya (“Army of the East”). The reason for the dispute was likely the distribution of stolen goods. Fighters were killed and injured on both sides (Rudaw).
On November 8, 2018, the border crossing at the Turkish-Syrian border by the village of Hamam near Jindiras has been reopened (ARK News).
Release of women and children in As-Suwayda
According to reports of regime-affiliated news-channels on November 8, 2018, a military operation of the Syrian army led to the release of the last group of the abducted women and children by ISIS in as-Suwayda (SMART News). Several sources of SMART News denied the regime’s coverage and said that the release was based on an agreement between the Syrian regime and ISIS. According to SMART News, the agreement was supported by Russia and the United States. It is said to include the release of ISIS-members’ wives from prisons of the regime and the permission to bring food and medical supplies to ISIS-controlled areas. On November 9, 2018, the last nineteen women and children reached as-Suwayda. Two children and one woman were murdered during the months-long abduction.