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 October 7, 2019, the White House announced that US forces would not support a Turkish military operation against the SDF in northeastern Syria (SMART News, ARK News). After Turkey again threatened with a military intervention against the SDF, US forces withdrew from places along the Syrian-Turkish border in the provinces of Al-Hasakah and Ar-Raqqah (SMART News). The SDF then criticized the fact that despite the SDF’s approval of the agreement between the US and Turkey over the planned security zone, the US government did not comply with its assurances to the SDF (SMART News, ARK News). Also on October 7, 2019 further reinforcements of the Turkish military arrived at the Syrian-Turkish border. Tanks moved from the Jarablus border crossing to the southeast of Aleppo province (SMART News, ARK News). The Syrian National Army of the oppositional Transitional Government assured the Turkish government military support (ARK News).
The SDF announced on October 8, 2019, a cooperation with the Syrian regime, should a military invasion by Turkey take place (SMART News, Rudaw, ARK News). On the same day, around one thousand three hundred fighters of armed factions of the Syrian National Army crossed the border into Turkey and headed for the Syrian border town of Tall Abyad (SMART News). On October 9, the Turkish military launched the military offensive against the SDF in northeastern Syria (SMART News). Consequently, the Russian government advocated cooperation between the PYD and the Syrian regime, to which the two parties agreed on October 13 (SMART News, Rudaw, ARK News).
The military intervention produced a massive exodus of civilians from the border area. Dozens of families escaped from Tall Abyad and surrounding areas on October 8, 2019 heading towards of ʿAyn ʿIsa (SMART News). Hundreds of additional families fled from Al-Qamishli, Ad-Darbasiya, Raʾs Al-ʿAin (Serê Kaniyê) towards Al-Hasakah (SMART News, Rudaw). According to media reports, the majority of residents of Raʾs Al-ʿAyn’s (Serê Kaniyê) and Tall Abyad’s were expelled (SMART News, 10 October, Rudaw, 12 October 2019).
Meanwhile, the PYD continued its forced recruitment campaigns. On October 9, 2019, the SDF arrested about fifty young men in Sluk, north of Ar-Raqqah (SMART News). On October 12, 2019, dozens of young men were forcibly recruited in Ar-Raqqah province (SMART News).
In ʿAfrin, the armed faction of Al-Amshat in the village of Qarmatliq in ʿAfrin’s sub-district Shiya demanded 1,000 US Dollars from every family with a relative abroad. The group threatened families with the confiscation of their olive trees or the demand of further payments (ARK News, 8 October 2019).