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.
On April 8, 2019, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) arrested and forcibly recruited twenty-five young men from the villages Hammam Al-Turkman, Al-Sukariya, Sluk and Al-Kantari in Al-Raqqah province (SMART News). On April 12, another twenty men were arrested by SDF troops. The arrests took place in the villages of Al-Hesha, Al-Fatisa and a village east of ‘Ayn’ Isa in the province of Ar-Raqqah (SMART News). Seven young men were forcibly recruited on April 14 at the checkpoint Hazima in western Ar-Raqqah province (SMART News).
On April 10, about two hundred armed members of the PYD stormed the village of Bani Shikafte in Al-Malikiyah. Five people were arrested, four of them are members of the PDK-S, a member party of the Kurdish National Council in Syria (KNC) (ARK News). On April 14, the KNC published a statement condemning the PYD’s actions and calling for the release of all political prisoners (SMART News, ARK News).
On 11 April 2019, the Turkish army attacked SDF positions near the city of Tall Rif’at, north of Aleppo. Allegedly, they fired twenty artillery projectiles (SMART News, April 12, 2019).
On April 13, the armed faction Al-Amshat attacked the residents of the village Alkana in the subdistrict Shiya. The group called on the residents of the village to pay them one thousand dollars for the second time (ARK News).
Kidnappings in As-Suwayda
In As-Suwayda kidnappings took place again. On April 12, 2019, four people were abducted in the center of As-Suwayda by eight gunmen. According to SMART News, the kidnappers demanded ransoms or each person. On April 14, lawyer Mamduh Salame Al-Said was kidnapped in the village of Al-Raha, southeast of As-Suwayda. Details about his kidnapping are unknown. Mamduh Salame Al-Said is a member of the so-called reconciliation commission of As-Suwayda. This commission, set up by the regime, is designed to mediate between local leaders in As-Suwayda and the regime’s security forces, especially with regard to dissidents (SMART News).