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.
French-Dutch Delegation in ʿAyn ʿIsa
On 13 June 2019, there was another wave of arrests and forced recruitment by PYD forces in Al-Qamishli in northeastern Syria. Especially young men were affected by arrests. The exact number is unknown (ARK News, June 6, 2019). On June 16, 2019, another ten young men were arrested at a checkpoint near Al-Kantari north of Ar-Raqqah and forcibly recruited by the SDF forces (SMART News).
On 10 June 2019, a French-Dutch delegation headed by Eric Chevallier, Director of the French Crisis and Support Center of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and J.W. Beaujean, Director of Consular Affairs and Visa Policy of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, visited the head quater of the Self-Administration in ‘Ayn ‘Isa. Twelve French and two Dutch orphans, children of ISIS fighters, were handed over to the delegation by the Self-Administration (Rudaw, SMART News). On June 13, another six orphans with Belgian nationality, also children of ISIS fighters, were handed over to Belgian authorities (Rudaw, SMART News).
ʿAfrin: Lists of Killed Persons Published
Rudaw and ARK News have both published lists of names and circumstances of civilian deaths in ʿAfrin. Rudaw’s list includes eighteen Kurdish civilians who were tortured and killed by armed factions in ʿAfrin since the Turkish invasion of March 2018 (Rudaw, June 13, 2019). ARK News documents the killings of twenty-seven Kurdish civilians by armed factions in ʿAfrin from April 2018 to June 2019 (ARK News, June 15, 2019). Partially, the lists overlap.
As-Suwayda: Political Activist Kidnapped
According to a media report released on June 10, 2019, a young man was killed and a child injured by a gunfire in As-Suwayda. The perpetrators were not identified (SMART News). According to a media report, Muhannad Shihabaldin, a political activist and opponent of the Syrian regime, was kidnapped by a group of unknown people in As-Suwayda. Shihabaldin maintains close relations with local military factions and is one of the most prominent opponents of the regime’s politics as he participated in numerous demonstrations and protests. According to SMART News sources, it is likely that the regime’s security forces are responsible for his kidnapping (SMART News, June 16, 2019).