Syria Media Roundup – June 17 to 23, 2019

In this Media Roundup, we collect local news from Syria, which is published mainly in Arabic and Kurdish media, weekly. 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.

PYD: Forced Recruitment

On June 16, 2019, the Turkish army bombed YPG locations in the area between Aʿzaz and ʿAfrin. The bombing occurred in response to an earlier YPG attack on positions of the Turkish army (Smart News, June 17, 2019).

On June 17 and 18, 2019, the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) arrested and forcibly recruited around thirty young persons at checkpoints in the villages Al-Kantari, Al-Hesha, Al-Fatisa and Rohayat, north of Ar‑Raqqah (SMART News). On June 21, 2019, twelve more persons from Al-Kantari village were forcibly recruited by SDF forces (SMART News).

In June, about forty-thousand hectares of agricultural land burned in north-eastern Syria. The losses amounted to about nineteen billion Syrian pounds (Rudaw, June 17, 2019, ARK News)

On June 23, 2019, the PYD’s Self-Administration handed over a thirteen-year-old child of ISIS-members with Danish citizenship to the Danish authorities. The child’s father had been killed while fighting near the Semalka border crossing and the child’s mother is still residing in Al-Hol refugee camp (Rudaw, SMART News).

As-Suwayda: Kidnapping of Political Activist

According to a media report published on June 18, 2019, the family of the abducted political activist Muhannad Shihabaldin appealed to the local armed factions in the province of As-Suwayda to help secure his release (SMART News). The same day, dozens of citizens protested in front of the building of the governorate in As-Suwayda, demanding the release of Shihabaldin and other political prisoners (SMART News). Local armed factions in As-Suwayda accused the Syrian regime of kidnapping Shihabaldin, and correspondingly kidnapped ten members of the Syrian regime (SMART News, June 17, 2019). A few days later, on June 23, four of the kidnapped regime members, namely two officers and two members of the regime’s intelligence service, were released (SMART News, June 23, 2019).

On June 22, 2019, unidentified gunmen kidnapped a man while he was working on his farmland in the village of Rimat al-Luhf west of As-Suwayda city. They took him to the town Ariqa. The reasons for the kidnapping and the fate of the abducted person are unknown (SMART News).

ʿAfrin: Trees Set on Fire

Trees were set on fire in villages of the Maabatli district in ʿAfrin on June 18, 2019 (ARK News). In addition, the gunmen of Al-Amshat faction forced a woman to pay three-thousand USD. The woman was threatened that if she did not pay the amount, she would have to leave and armed men would move in her house (ARK News, June 22, 2019).