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.
Arrests in Ar-Raqqah
On March 11, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) arrested and forcibly recruited three young men in the village of Hazima northeast of Ar-Raqqah (SMART News). A wave of additional arrests took place in the villages of Derna Aghe, Alagos and Kishke, near Al-Jawadiyah. In addition, numerous roadblocks were set up in Al-Malikiyah (Dêrik) (ARK News). On March 15, the PYD detained and forcibly recruited twenty-five young persons from the villages of Al-Hesha and Al-Fatsa, north of Ar-Raqqah (SMART News).
On March 12, PYD gunmen attacked civilians in Al-Qamishli, who had participated in a commemoration of the 2004 uprising (ARK News). On the same day, the Kurdish National Council in Syria (KNC) issued a statement condemning this action (ARK News). The attack during the commemoration sparked civilian protests in Al-Qamishli (ARK News, March 16, 2019).
Two members of the KNC received death threats and it was demanded they cease activities such as organizing KNC events in ‘Ayn al-‘Arab (Kobanî) and the Jazirah (ARK News, March 17, 2019).
Additional IDP’s reach Al-Hol
Living conditions of the residents of the refugee camp Al-Hol are still catastrophic. However, more and more internally displaced persons and refugees, especially from the town Al-Bahouz, are seeking refuge in the camp. Recently, five children died as a result of malnutrition and lack of medical care (ARK News, March 11, 2019). Between March 11 and 16, about 1,000 Syrians and 300 Iraqis arrived at the camp. Additionally, 575 families of IS members reached Al-Hol (SMART News, March 14 and 16, 2019).
A suicide attack took place in Al-Bahouz on March 15. It was carried out by two women with explosive belts. The assassins had mingled with families who wanted to flee from Al-Bahouz at the time of the explosion. Six people were killed and others were injured (SMART News).
Statement of KNC regarding ʿAfrin
On March 17, the KNC published a statement on the ongoing violence in ‘Afrin. It condemns the actions of Turkish troops and the lack of action by the international community. The KNC called on international actors, Turkey and human rights organizations to stop the systematic violence in ‘Afrin, to remove the armed militias from ‘Afrin and to hand over the administration of the province to the local population (ARK News).