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Syria Today – Report Exposes Regime Targeting of Camps, Iraq Deports Refugees

Your daily brief of the English-speaking press on Syria.
Syria Today – Report Exposes Regime Targeting of Camps, Iraq Deports Refugees

According to a recent report, the Syrian regime led by Bashar al-Assad has deliberately attacked makeshift camps housing internally displaced persons (IDPs) in north-west Syria. Additionally, on Saturday, Iraqi authorities reportedly deported three Syrian Kurdish refugees back to Syria after arresting them due to residency issues. This action was taken despite concerns about the safety and security of these individuals in their home country.

Syria regime bombed IDP camps despite evidence of civilian presence – report

The Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad has intentionally targeted makeshift camps inhabited by internally displaced persons (IDPs) in north-west Syria, according to a new report.

In the report, published by the Syria Justice and Accountability Centre (SJAC), it stated its findings that the regime and its allies conducted a significant number of deadly attacks on the IDP camps, with overwhelming evidence that they were aware of the sites being civilian and housing the displaced persons.

According to the report, there was sufficient intelligence gathered by regime forces prior to the dropping of barrel and cluster bombs that would have made the presence of IDPs in the camps clear. Citing the use of an archive of 2 million videos, SJAC said that it verified 17 incidents of attacks on camps, despite easily being identified as civilian from the air due to their “distinctive layouts and characteristic, blue-coloured tents”.

The camps targeted include those in the rebel-held province of Idlib in Syria’s north-west like the Al-Naqeer camp, which had already long been struggling with humanitarian crises such as frequent flooding and a lack of medical and healthcare access, food supplies and clean water.

Witness testimonies collected by the SJAC reported that helicopters and aircraft belonging to the regime and its allies had been seen flying over and nearby the camps shortly before the attacks, with one witness stating that “We were watching the helicopter heading straight towards the camp and, while it was over the camp, it dropped a barrel bomb on the camp, and we saw it first-hand.”

Iraqi authorities deports three Syrian Kurdish refugees back to Syria

Iraqi authorities, on Saturday, reportedly deported three Syrian Kurdish refugees to Syria after they were arrested on residency issues, disregarding concerns about their safety in their home country, New Arab reported

The step coincides with a formal visit by Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani to Syria on Sunday, in which he met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and discussed activating security and intelligence cooperation between Baghdad and Damascus. 

The three Syrians, originally from Northeast Syria, were transferred to the Syrian intelligence from Baghdad International Airport on a flight to Damascus International Airport, an official from the Iraqi interior ministry in Baghdad has told The New Arab’s Arabic sister site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

There are nearly thirty other Syrians arrested in Baghdad, who might be extradited to the Syrian authorities as well, an official, who refused to be named, also told the outlet. Families of the three Kurds remain in Baghdad, and they do not know what will be the fate of the deported men.

“The extradition of the Syrians is a dangerous step, the three Kurdish youths have got guardianship from the UN, and their refugee cases were pending for relocation in a third country,” Jalal Brifkani, a political activist from Duhok province in the Iraqi Kurdistan region told al-Araby Al-Jadeed. “The step came within a security agreement between Iraq and the Syrian regime; lives of those Syrians are under threat after extraditing to the Syrian authorities.” 

The Iraqi authorities arrested the three Syrian Kurds – Qahraman Ako Ali, Faisal Ako Ali, and Ali Zakaria Khalil- in March. Rashid Ali Jan, head of Jani Roj Charity Organization, has told Rudaw outlet. He asked the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to intervene to stop extraditing nearly thirty other Syrian Kurds by the Iraqi government to the Syrian regime, as the extradition is considered abusing human rights.

A decade into the shadow war in Syria, Israel still disrupting Tehran’s takeover efforts

Despite considerable success for Israel in its shadow war against Tehran’s effort to build a war machine in Syria, the Iranian-led radical axis remains highly active there, jns.com reported.

The shadow effort, dubbed the “campaign between the wars” by the Israeli defense establishment, began a decade ago and has seen reports of hundreds of airstrikes on weapons supply runs and efforts to build attack bases by Iran, Hezbollah and other pro-Iranian Shi’ite militias in Syria.

On July 3rd, an airstrike attributed by international media to Israel targeted Aleppo International Airport in northern Syria, causing damage and leading to the facility’s closure.

On June 30th, the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War released a report stating that the Iranian Quds Force, which is a part of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, and Hezbollah, established a new military headquarters in Mayadin, eastern Syria. The report also said that Hezbollah began building a military base in Deir-ez-Zor, not far from Mayadin.

The base includes weapons depots, a training camp, and residential buildings for pro-Iranian militia fighters and their families. Meanwhile, the Quds Force and Hezbollah also recently reportedly built a new military headquarters and barracks south of Damascus.

Observers describe the efforts as components of a plan to secure weapons smuggling routes in Syria, and to link the routes to the Syrian-held part of the Golan Heights on the Israeli border, and to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Brig. Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, a former Israel Defense Forces Military Intelligence Research Division head and former director-general of the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs, told JNS that the campaign between the wars has been largely successful. It prevented a substantial quantity of Iranian weapons from reaching Hezbollah and Iranian-controlled forces in Syria and Lebanon, he said. 

Erdogan open to meeting al-Assad but not to withdrawing from Syria

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he is open to talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad but would not meet him if a withdrawal of Turkish troops from Syrian territory were set as a condition.

Speaking to reporters in Istanbul on Monday ahead of his departure for a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, Erdogan said Turkey has never “shut the door” to discussions with the Syrian government.

Turkey has been the biggest military and political ally of the Syrian opposition, which controls the last rebel-held bastion in the country, which is in northwest Syria on the Turkish border.

Ankara has set up dozens of bases and deployed thousands of troops in northern Syria, preventing the Russian-backed Syrian army from re-taking the region. Turkey has also been a base for Syrian opposition groups since 2011.

“We can hold a four-party summit [with Syria, Russia and Iran], and I am also open to a meeting with Assad. What matters here is their approach towards us,” Erdogan told journalists.

Eight years later: A Syrian university professor starts from scratch to support her family in Germany

The New Humanitarian has published a detailed report on a Syrian university professor who faced the daunting task of starting from scratch in Germany to support her family. Having had a successful career and a fulfilling life in Syria, Nadwa Jazzan was determined to regain that sense of accomplishment in her new home. However, the bureaucratic job market in Germany posed numerous challenges, requiring language proficiency and often disregarding qualifications earned outside the country. Despite holding a five-year master’s degree, Nadwa’s credentials were only recognized as equivalent to an undergraduate degree in Germany. This setback made her feel like she was starting over from nothing. Nevertheless, Nadwa remained resilient and focused on her goal, setting her sights on reclaiming her professional status in Germany.

According to the report, Nadwa encountered significant hurdles as she started anew in Germany to support her family. Despite having a successful career and a fulfilling life in Syria, the civil war forced her to leave everything behind. In Germany, she confronted language barriers, the challenge of re-certifying her qualifications, and xenophobia from society. Determined to regain her professional status, Nadwa set her sights on becoming an English teacher. However, she had to overcome the demanding German language exam to fulfill her goal. Despite the hardships, Nadwa’s resilience and determination symbolize the struggles experienced by many Syrian refugees in Germany, as they strive to integrate into society and rebuild their lives.

Despite her professional background, Nadwa struggled to find suitable employment due to language barriers, qualifications not being recognized, and informal barriers rooted in xenophobia. 

Nadwa made sacrifices, leaving her son Tammam behind in Syria while she sought a better future in Germany. After years of hard work, Nadwa secured a teaching assistant position and eventually obtained a class of her own. With the support of her neighbour and overcoming bureaucratic obstacles, Nadwa successfully reunited with Tammam in Germany. 

She continued to work tirelessly, juggling work, language classes, and taking care of her family. Nadwa’s dedication paid off as she passed the advanced language exam, paving the way for future opportunities. However, the challenges persisted, as her husband Adham struggled to find stable employment, and Tammam faced difficulties in adjusting to his new life. Nevertheless, Nadwa remained determined to support her family and build a brighter future for them in Germany.

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