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Syria Today – Calls for Decentralization in Suweida; Syria and Russia Kill 111 in Idleb

Your daily brief of the English-speaking press on Syria.
Syria Today – Calls for Decentralization in Suweida; Syria and Russia Kill 111 in Idleb

On Saturday, a politician representing the opposition from Syria’s Suweida Governorate in the southern region advocated for the creation of a decentralized governing body in Suweida. Meanwhile, in Northwest Syria, Syrian and Russian military forces tragically claimed the lives of 111 individuals and left 80 others injured.

Politician calls for decentralization in Syria’s Suweida

An opposition politician from Suweida Governorate in southern Syria called on Saturday for the establishment of a decentralized administration in Suweida, stating that they are in the process of creating a body to address regional affairs, Kurdihs news agency North Press reported.

Since Aug. 17, anti-government protests have erupted in Suweida and its countryside raising slogans demanding the departure of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the implementation of the UNSC Resolution 2254, affirming the continuation of protests until a political resolution is reached.

“What we are witnessing today in terms of a popular uprising is clear evidence of our people’s determination to adhere to their revolution amidst an international silence and the marginalization of UN Resolutions,” Khaled Jamoul, an opposition politician, told North Press.

“Amidst the suffering of the people, it has become imperative for them to seek the most realistic resolutions without changing the laws, constitutions, and customs that grant them the right to manage their institutions through an administrative decentralization”, he said.

“The administrative decentralization is the best solution at the moment regarding Suwayda and the region,” he added.

Jamoul emphasized that they are not separatists, as some have labelled them, stressing that they are Syrians and they would remain Syrians.

“For more than two months, a number of Suweida’s politicians have been holding a series of extensive meetings to find resolutions,” he noted.

Syrian, Russian Forces Kill 111 people  in Joint Idleb Strikes

Iranian news agency Tasnim reported that Syrian and Russian forces killed 111 people in Northwest Syria and injured 80 others.

The Iranian agency quoted the Syrian Ministry of Defense issued a statement on Saturday, saying that “these precise and intensive operations were undertaken in response to the continuous violations committed by terrorist groups in the southern outskirts of Idleb.”

 “The armed terrorist organizations supported by some regional and international parties continue in launching repeated attacks on safe villages and towns and sites and positions of the Syrian Arab Army adjacent to the de-escalation zones in the Idleb and Hama countryside, so Syrian-Russian forces carried out qualitative operations in the aforementioned sites,” the statement highlighted.

Russia, according to the Iranian outlet, has been actively providing military assistance to Syrian forces as they continue battling various terrorist factions within the country. This assistance, initiated in September 2015 at the official request of the Syrian government, has proven effective in aiding the Syrian forces in reclaiming key areas from terrorist groups, including remnants of ISIS.

Violence flares between U.S.-backed Kurdish forces and Arab militias in NE Syria, despite SDF chief declaring ‘end of fighting’

Fighting between US-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and its former Arab tribal militia allies continued to rage in eastern Syria on Sunday, despite the SDF announcing an end to military operations two days earlier.

A 12-year-old girl was reportedly killed during an SDF raid on the town of Dhiban in Deir az-Zour province on Saturday night. The girl was apparently trying to return to her home in the town when killed by SDF gunfire, a local activist told The New Arab’s sister publication Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

SDF Commander-in-chief Mazloum Abdi had on Friday announced the end of the group’s operations, claiming that his Kurdish-led forces had achieved its military objectives and so the fighting would end.

Abdi had also called for direct dialogue between himself and Sheikh Ibrahim Al-Hafil the leader of the Al-Akeidat tribe – one of the main tribal forces involved in the clashes in Deir az-Zour.

Al-Hafil swiftly responded to Abdi’s comments by calling for tribal fighters to escalate attacks on the SDF, reportedly saying in a recorded message: “The march of the fight against the mercenaries of the SDF and their allies will continue until victory waves over our land.”

He also urged the people of Deir az-Zour to “continue peaceful protests until our demands are met, which include managing the Arab component of our areas.”

His calls were echoed by the military field commander of the Al-Aqaidat tribe, Muhammad Al-Bakheet Abu Ghamid, who repotedly called on all fighters to “resist the SDF”, saying: “We urge you and implore you to continue fighting until our demands are met, to manage our land by ourselves and expel the occupying SDF militia”. 

Though Abdi vowed for an end to SDF operations by Sunday, local sources report that the Al-Azba region in northern Deir al-Zour remains besieged by the SDF who continue to detain young men at checkpoints, despite the presence of the US-led international anti-Islamic State group coalition in the area.  

This comes at a time when civilians in the besieged areas are increasingly in need of water and food supplies.

The fighting began on August 27th when Kurdish-led SDF forces arrested Ahmad al-Khabil, also known as Abu Khawla, the Arab head of the Deir az-Zour Military Council, which was previously affiliated with the SDF.

The SDF accused Khabil of communicating with the Assad regime, and of alleged drug trafficking and mismanagement leading to an uptick in IS activities.

Fighters loyal to Khabil, including the Al-Akeidat tribe, then retaliated with attacks on the SDF, leading to a full-scale escalation involving SDF offensives against Arab tribal positions, leading to fatalities on both sides and an unconfirmed number of civilian casualties.

Arab tribes deny involvement with the Assad regime and claim that the Kurdish-dominated SDF discriminates against them and will not cede power to them in Arab-majority areas of land held by the SDF.

UN envoy urges donor support for battered Syria facing an economic crisis

The United Nations special envoy for Syria Sunday urged donors not to reduce their funding as the war-torn country’s economic crisis spirals, AP reported.

Syrian President Bashar Assad’s decision last month to double public sector wages and pensions further skyrocketed inflation and fueled ongoing protests that shook the southern Druze-majority province of Sweida and nearby Daraa.

Initially sparked by deepening economic misery, angry residents in greater numbers began to call for the fall of Assad, similar to that of the country’s 2011 uprising that turned into an all-out civil war.

The U.N. estimates that 90% of Syrians in government-held areas live in poverty and that over half the country’s population struggles to put food on the table.


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