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.
Forced Recruitment by PYD Forces
SDF Bombardment of Syrian National Army in North of Aleppo
On May 18, 2019, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) bombarded locations of the Syrians opposition’s so-called Syrian National Army near the town of Kafr Kalbin in the north of Aleppo. Five members of the Syrian National Army were killed and additional people were wounded. As a response, Turkish forces attacked locations of the SDF (SMART News).
Hundreds of Kurdish Prisoners Disappeared in ʿAfrin
According to a report by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, hundreds of Kurdish prisoners were taken from the Al-Ma’sara prison near the city of A’zaz in northern Aleppo to an unknown location. They had been captured by armed factions in ʿAfrin over the past year. According to the report, many of the abductees are suffering from extremely poor health conditions due to torture and the poor medical provisions (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 15 May 2019, ARK News).
On May 13, 2019, the armed faction Al-Amshat forced inhabitants of the village Qarmatlaq, located in the sub-district Shiya, to host IDPs from Idlib and Hamah in their homes. The action increased the local’s fears of being displaced from ʿAfrin due to the high influx of IDP’s from Idlib (ARK News, May 14, 2019). Rouhgly two-hundred thousand IDP’s from different areas of Syria have been resettled in ʿAfrin (Rudaw, May 16, 2019). The Turkish-backed, armed groups in the area are accused of serious human rights violations and criminal activities, such as kidnapping of civilians and arbitrary seizures of private property (ARK News, May 17, 2019).
Security Situation in As-Suwayda
The security situation in the province of As-Suwayda remains concerning as kidnappings, bomb explosions and shootings continue. According to a report of May 17, 2019, four gunmen kidnapped a civilian on the road between the villages Salim and Qanawat. The kidnappers’ intentions and the fate of the abducted person are unknown (SMART News). On May 18, 2019, a hand grenade exploded inside the so called Amir Tower close to As-Suwayda’s stadium, killing one civilian. The reason for the attack is unknown (SMART News).