Syria Media Roundup – September 23 to 29, 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.

On September 24, 2019, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) arrested and forcibly recruited twenty young men at one of their checkpoints in Al-Tabqah, west of Ar-Raqqah (SMART News). Another fifteen young men were forcibly recruited on September 25, 2019 in Ar-Raqqah (SMART News). The SDF also arrested and forcibly recruited twenty-one young men on September 27, 2019 in Ar-Raqqah (SMART News).

On September 24, 2019, there was a sit-in of protesters in Ash-Shaddadi south of Al-Hasakah. In protest against the SDF also numerous shops of the city remained closed. According to media reports, the protesters demanded a lift of the ban on motorcycles in Ash-Shaddadi. In addition, it was demanded that the city’s largest bakery shall be under civilian rather than military control. The demonstrators also demanded sufficient supplies of diesel fuel from the city (SMART News, ARK News).

In the last week, there were again numerous relocations of military units and devices of the International Coalition against the ISIS. During the night of September 25 to 26, 2019, dozens of trucks drove to military bases in the provinces of Ar-Raqqah, Al-Hasakah and Manbij (SMART News, September 26, 2019). On September 26, 2019, fourteen more trucks drove from a military base in Al-Hasakah province to a base in Ain ‘Isa. After announcing the withdrawal of American troops from Syria last year, the United States announced on Tuesday that they will retain their forces in northeastern Syria for the time being to continue the fight against the Islamic State (SMART News).

On September 28, 2019, military reinforcement of the International Coalition reached the military council of Tall Abyad. The Military Council had recently been established by the SDF alongside military councils in other places. The military councils are to replace the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) along the border with Turkey. The SDF is thereby responding to Turkey’s call to withdraw Kurdish armed troops from the border area (SMART News).

Dozens of Syrian lawyers, politicians, intellectuals and artists have published a letter on September 24, 2019 in which they plead for the construction of a Syrian federal state. The division of regions should take into account geographical, cultural and economic circumstances and refrain from discrimination. The needs and rights of all Syrian groups should be ensured (ARK News, September 29, 2019, the entire call including the list of signatures can be found on Yekiti Media).

On September 24, 2019, a car bomb exploded in ʿAfrin’s district of Jindiras. The explosion killed five persons and wounded eight others (SMART News, ARK News, Rudaw). According to a media report of September 29, 2019, armed forces of the Syrian opposition arrested several civilians in the suburb of Bulbul. The names of five detainees were published on social media. They are accused of the Turkish invasion to have belonged to the YPG, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (SMART News).