Syria Media Roundup – March 25 to 31, 2019

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.

North-East Syria

On March 25, a wave of arrests took place in Ar-Raqqah and Al-Qamishli. Twenty-two young men were arrested in the Eastern part of Ar-Raqqah, four more young men were arrested and forcibly recruited in Al-Qamishli (ARK News, SMART News). According to a report published on March 26, some young men were arrested in Al-Qahtaniya (Tirbesipî), while armed members of the PYD  also patrolled the entrances of the city (ARK News). On March 27, the SDF arrested and forcibly recruited five young men in Al-Hamam Village, in Ar-Raqqah Province, and arrested five others in the village of Al-Karameh (SMART News).

According to the PYD Self-Administration, 67,000 people are currently living under extremely difficult conditions in Al-Hol refugee camp. The Self-Administration called on the United Nations to help improve the situation (SMART News). Adnan Azzam, spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Syria, said that the ICRC, together with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, provides the population with water and food, but there is an urgent need for medical care (Rudaw). Even though, according to media reports, the last bastion of the ISIS was defeated in Al-Baghouz, the Al-Hol Camp-Administration continues to report arrivals of people from the region of Deir ez-Zawr (SMART News).

Returnees to ʿAfrin

On 25 March, a number of displaced families was allowed to return from rural areas around Aleppo to their towns and villages in the province of ʿAfrin. The exact number of returnees is unclear, but there are rumors that a Turkish-Russian agreement should allow the return of more families (ARK News).

Kidnappings in As-Suwayda

On March 26 and 27, seven people in As-Suwayda province were abducted by unidentified armed groups. In one case, the kidnappers demanded ransom from the family of the kidnapped person (SMART News).