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.
Area under PYD Control
The PYD’s YPG forces attacked a unit of the Free Syrian Army with a missile near the town Mare’. One person was killed and two others wounded (SMART News, April 1, 2019). The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) arrested and forcibly recruited seven young men in the village of Tal Al-Samman north of Ar‑Raqqah (SMART News, April 4, 2019). On April 4, 2019, the PYD security forces arrested fifteen young persons in Ar‑Raqqah. Presumably, the people were arrested for having participated in a demonstration against the motorcycle ban in Ar-Raqqah (SMART News).
Developments in Al-Hol Camp
The French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced that France will provide one million euros for humanitarian aid in refugee camps in northeastern Syria. In particular, the residents of the Al-Hol camp in the province of Al-Hasakah shall benefit from the support. The inhabitants of the camp should receive life-saving supplies such as tents, food, water and medical care (SMART News, April 2, 2019, Rudaw, April 1, 2019).
Originally the camp Al-Hol was set up for Iraqi refugees during the Gulf War in 1991. It was designed for around half of the 73,000 person currently living there. Many of the people who come to Al-Hol are injured or malnourished. Only last week, dozens died on their way to the camp or shortly after their arrival. The situation in the Al-Hol refugee camp is, according to Corinne Fleischer, country director of the World Food Programme in Syria, similar to a “ticking time bomb” (Washington Post, April 2, 2019).
Travel bans for Activists from As-Suwayda
According to a SMART News’ report, in February 2019 a meeting between Mays Kredi, deputy of the General Secretary of the Syrian Democratic Action Committee, and several civil society activists from As-Suwayda took place. Mays Kredi, who is known for her strong ties with the Syrian regime, asked the activists to concentrate their work exclusively on humanitarian aid and refrain from documenting human rights violations. After this request was refused, a travel ban was issued by security forces of the regime against dozens of activists (SMART News, April 4, 2019).