Syria Media Roundup – October 28 to November 3, 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.

The armed forces of the Syrian regime launched military operations in the provinces of Al-Hasakah and Ar-Raqqah on October 28, 2019. One of their military convoys arrived in the city of Ad-Darbasiya and headed for Raʾs Al-ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê) (SMART News). Another convoy with tanks and heavy weapons reached ʿAyn Al-ʿArab (Kobanî) on October 29 and positioned itself on the Syrian-Turkish border (SMART News). On October 30, 2019, three more military vehicles with soldiers from the Syrian regime arrived in Ad-Darbasiya. They were stationed on the connecting road between Ad-Darbasiya and Al-Hasaka (ARK News). On November 1, 2019, three Syrian regime military vehicles with military equipment reached a base near the city of ʿAyn ʿIsa (SMART News). On November 3, 2019, a Syrian regime military convoy consisting of tanks, armored vehicles, rocket launchers, artillery and soldiers arrived in Tall Tamr and settled in Abu Rassen (SMART News).

Movements by the US armed forces took place in the provinces of Al-Hasakah, Ar-Raqqah, Aleppo and Deir Ez-Zawr. On November 28, 2019, an American military convoy with about fifty vehicles drove from the US base in Al-Hasakah towards Deir Ez-Zawr (SMART News). Another U.S. convoy with about fifty vehicles moved from Tall Tamr towards ʿAyn Al-Arab (Kobanî) on October 31 (SMART News). On November 1, 2019, approximately seventeen U.S. military vehicles and eighty trucks reached the American base south of ʿAyn Al-Arab (Kobanî) (SMART News), which was fully evacuated two days later on November 3, 2019 (ARK News).

At the same time, the SDF withdrew their troops from the Syrian-Turkish border. A short time later, on October 28, dozens of villages and towns in the provinces of Al-Hasakah and Ar-Raqqah were captured by the opposition troops of the Syrian national army (SMART News, October 28, 2019). On October 29, the Russian Defense Ministry announced the complete withdrawal of the SDF from the so-called safe zone (SMART News).

The SDF was reported to have arrested and forcefully recruited sixteen young men near Ar-Raqqah on October 30, 2019 (SMART News).

The Syrian Constitutional Committee met for the first time in Geneva on October 30, 2019. According to Geir Pedersen, UN Special Envoy for Syria, the 2012 constitution could serve as basis for discussions, but the drafting of a new constitution would also be conceivable. In a referendum the Syrian population should vote on the draft constitution. Pedersen emphasized that the Constitutional Committee must be committed to Syria’s sovereignty and unity (SMART News).