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Syria Today – Syria Appoints Arab League Ambassador; Germany Condemns Russia Strike

Your daily brief of the English-speaking press on Syria.
Syria Today – Syria Appoints Arab League Ambassador; Germany Condemns Russia Strike

On Sunday, the Syrian regime made an announcement about the appointment of an ambassador to Egypt, who will also serve as its representative at the Arab League. This development follows the reinstatement of Syria in the regional body last month. Meanwhile, Germany strongly denounced a Russian airstrike that deliberately targeted a marketplace in Jisr al-Shughur, a city located in western Idleb.

Syrian regime appoints ambassador to Egypt, Arab League following reinstatement

The Syrian regime on Sunday appointed an ambassador to Egypt who will also represent it at the Arab League, following its reinstatement in the regional body last month, Syria’s state-run news agency SANA reported.

Houssam al-Din Ala was appointed as Syria’s ambassador to Cairo and the Arab League, following the 22-member council’s decision to give Syria its seat back in the league in early May following a 12-year suspension.

The Syrian regime was suspended from the body in 2011 after its bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations which later spiralled into a conflict which saw over half a million people killed, most of them as a result of regime bombardment of civilian areas.

Ala on Sunday presented his credentials to Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit.

The new ambassador served as Syria’s permanent envoy to the United Nations in Geneva for eight years. He was also the Syrian ambassador to the Vatican and Spain and worked at the UN’s Syrian mission in New York.

Separately on Sunday, Syrian regime Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad received the credentials of Algeria’s ambassador to Damascus, Kamel Bouchama.

Bouchama previously served as Algeria’s envoy to Syria in 2001.

Netherlands and Belgium join international probe into crimes against Yazidis in Syria and Iraq

The Netherlands and Belgium have joined an international investigation into atrocities committed against the Yazidi minority in Syria and Iraq, the European Union’s judicial cooperation agency said Monday.

The Joint Investigation Team, according to an AP report, was established by France and Sweden in October 2021 and supported by The Hague-based Eurojust to identify and prosecute foreign extremists who targeted Yazidis during the armed conflict in Syria and Iraq.

Eurojust said the teamwork already has borne fruit, including in France, where a Yazidi victim of a French jihadist couple was identified. That led to charges of genocide and crimes against humanity being added to an existing case.

The joint investigation team is part of a broader international effort to mete out justice for atrocities targeting Yazidis, a minority considered heretics by the Islamic State militant group.

A United Nations probe concluded in 2021 that crimes committed against Yazidis by Islamic State extremists amounted to genocide.

Germany condemns Russia’s airstrikes on Idleb

On Monday, June 26th, Germany condemned a Russian air raid that targeted Idleb Governorate, northwestern Syria, on June 25th.

On Sunday, a Russian fighter jet targeted a marketplace in Jisr al-Shughur, a city in western Idleb, killing 10 individuals and injuring 65 others, an informed medical source told North Press.

The German Special Envoy to Syria, Stefan Schneck, tweeted, “Germany strongly condemns this terrible airstrike in Idleb, which killed and injured many innocent civilians.”

The German envoy expressed his solidarity with and condolences to “the families of the victims,” calling on civilians not to be attacked under any circumstances, and that “protecting them is everyone’s duty.”

He also called for “holding all perpetrators involved in these crimes accountable.”

Frankly Speaking: Will the Assad regime kick its drug habits?

The Saudi owned English language newspaper Arab News published a long article discussing the Assad regime’s involvement in the Captagon drug trade, highlighting the regime’s reluctance to relinquish its profitable business despite commitments to combat drug abuse and trafficking, and discusses the implications of this trade on power dynamics in Syria.

The article discusses the Syrian regime’s involvement in the drug trade, particularly the production and trafficking of Captagon, despite recent commitments to combat drug abuse and illicit trafficking. 

Caroline Rose, a leading researcher on the Captagon trade, expresses doubt that the Bashar Assad regime will give up its profitable drug business, as it provides significant revenue and helps maintain power within regime-held areas. 

While the recent killing of a key trafficker was seen as a show of goodwill, many other influential individuals involved in the trade remain untouched. The article also highlights the significance of Captagon smuggling in southern Syria and the potential for more sophisticated smuggling techniques in the future. 

The drug’s popularity in the Gulf region is attributed to its variety of uses, such as suppressing trauma, improving productivity, and inducing euphoria. 

The article emphasizes the need for public awareness regarding the contents of Captagon pills, as the formulation can vary, posing serious health risks. Saudi Arabia is identified as a lucrative market for Captagon due to its wealth and youthful population. 

Arab News has produced a documentary exploring Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on Captagon, examining its origins, production methods, trafficking, and consumption within the country.

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