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Syria Today – Teheran & Damascus Discuss Ties; Kurds Begin Trials for ISIS Detainees; SNA Arrests Syrians Deported from Turkey

Your daily brief of the English-speaking press on Syria.
Syria Today – Teheran & Damascus Discuss Ties; Kurds Begin Trials for ISIS Detainees; SNA Arrests Syrians Deported from Turkey

During a telephonic conversation between Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad, they discussed recent progress in their countries’ relationship and addressed regional matters. Simultaneously, the Kurdish-led administration in northeast Syria caught diplomats off guard by announcing their intention to initiate trials for numerous suspected foreign Islamic State fighters who have been under their custody for an extended period, raising concerns about the proper legal procedures. Additionally, a Turkish-backed armed opposition group apprehended seven Syrian individuals, including a woman, in a city located north of Hassakeh Governorate in northeastern Syria. These arrests occurred shortly after the individuals had been deported from Turkey.

One civilian killed, others injured by U.S. forces, Hassakeh Countryside

One civilian was martyred and others were injured by fire from the “U.S. occupation forces” as they carried out an airdrop in Hassakeh countryside on Sunday, SANA reports .

Local sources told SANA that the U.S. “occupation” warplanes carried out a massive airdrop operation on Sunday at Dawn in Hassakeh southern countryside, with the support of the militants of the U.S.-backed SDF militia.

The airdrop was carried out in the village of Salham, southeast of al-Shadadi, in the southern countryside of Hassakeh, along the Syrian-Iraqi border, and it was accompanied by heavy and indiscriminate shooting at the locals’ homes and lands.

The sources added that the U.S. occupation forces and the SDF militants cordoned off the village, and opened fire on the people who tried to leave the village, fearing for their lives, which led to the martyrdom of a civilian and the injury of others.

Iran, Syria highlight their determination to implement deals reached during president’s visit

Iranian and Syrian foreign ministers on Saturday highlighted the two countries’ determination to implement the agreements reached during a recent visit by the Iranian president to Syria.

In a phone call between Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad, they also exchanged views on the latest developments in bilateral ties and regional issues, according to a statement published on the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s website.

The Syrian foreign minister reported his country’s recent successes in ties with other Arab states, as well as the presence of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the Arab League Summit held in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah in May after 12 years of absence.

Amir-Abdollahian described the Syrian successes as “positive and constructive.”

Leading a group of top ministers, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi arrived in Syria on May 3th, marking the first visit by an Iranian president since the beginning of the Syrian war in 2011.

During his trip, Raisi and al-Assad signed a number of memorandums of understanding for long-term and comprehensive cooperation in various fields including oil, communications, civil aviation, railways, and agriculture, among others.

Hope for Syrian cancer patients as cross-border treatment resumes in Turkey

Cross-border treatment for cancer patients from north-west Syria resumed this week after February’s earthquake had left people without access to radiotherapy, The Guardian reported.

But medical organizations in the area are warning that the backlog means many cancer patients remain in limbo and some could die as a result.

Cross-border treatment for cancer patients from north-west Syria has resumed after an earthquake in February left people without access to radiotherapy. The resumption of cross-border referrals to Turkish hospitals via the Bab al-Hawa border crossing is expected to save lives. However, a backlog of cases means that many cancer patients remain in limbo, and some may die as a result. 

North-west Syria, which is outside the control of the Syrian government and lacks state services, has around 4,300 cancer patients. 

The region already faced challenges in providing cancer care, with a shortage of oncologists and limited access to advanced treatment. The conflict, poverty, and a crippled healthcare system have further complicated the situation. The shortage of drugs has led to scams with fake medications being sold, exacerbating the desperation of patients. 

The resumption of cross-border treatment is a hopeful development, but more support is needed to address the backlog and provide accessible and affordable healthcare in north-west Syria.

Turkey Calls on Int’l Community to Contribute to Voluntary Return of Syrian Refugees

Turkey has called on the international community to cooperate in achieving the voluntary, safe and dignified return of Syrian refugees on its territory, Asharq al-Awsat reported

At the same time, it confirmed that it would continue its operations targeting terrorist organizations at home and across borders.

The country’s National Security Council emphasized the importance of international cooperation in the issue of refugees, saying that it would contribute to achieving their voluntary, safe and dignified return to their homeland.

This came in a statement issued on Thursday evening, at the end of the first meeting of the newly-established council, after the recent presidential and parliamentary elections.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had confirmed, after the first meeting of his new government on Tuesday, that Turkey would return the Syrian refugees to their country in a safe, voluntary and honourable manner, saying: “We will encourage our brothers, who sought refuge in our country fleeing the war and the attacks of terrorist organizations, to voluntarily return to their homeland safely and honourably.”

Syria’s Kurds to begin trials for ISIS detainees

The Kurdish-led administration in northeast Syria said it would begin trying thousands of suspected foreign Islamic State fighters who have been in its custody for years, surprising diplomats working on the issue and prompting concern about due process.

According to a Reuters report, the U.S.-backed autonomous administration, which operates separately from the central government in Damascus, holds around 10,000 suspected ISIS detainees who fled the last bastions held by the militant Islamist group in Syria from 2017-2019.

Local officials have for years called on foreign countries – including Canada, France, the United Kingdom and others – to repatriate their nationals as well as the thousands of foreign women and children who fled IS’s self-declared “caliphate” and are in detention camps.

On Saturday, the Kurdish-led administration said in an online statement that it had decided to submit detainees to its own “open, free and transparent trials” following the international community’s lagging response.

Senior administration official Badran Jia Kurd told Reuters a local counter-terrorism law broadened last year would be used to try the fighters, adding the accused could appoint a lawyer but did not say courts would appoint one for them.

Northeast Syria does not practice capital punishment.

Jia Kurd said rights groups and the U.S.-led coalition, which helped Kurdish-led forces oust ISIS from swathes of northern Syrian territory, would be invited to attend the trials.

The coalition did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

SNA faction arrests Syrians deported from Turkey

A Turkish-backed armed opposition faction arrested on Sunday seven Syrian people, including a woman, in a city north of Hassakeh Governorate in northeastern Syria, hours after they were deported from Turkey, North Press reports.

The Military Police, a faction within the Syrian National Army (SNA), arrested the deportees from the border crossing in the city of Sere Kaniye (Ras al-Ain) without any charges, a source from the faction told North Press.

Sere Kaniye, a Kurdish city in the north of Hasakah, has been under the occupation of the Turkish forces and their affiliated SNA factions since October 2019 after launching the so-called “Peace Spring” military operation to push away the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) from the Turkish southern border under the pretext of protecting Turkey’s national security.

The source added that five of the arrestees are the original people of Sere Kaniye and they work as farmers.

He indicated that arresting Syrians who are being deported from Turkey is ongoing. They release them for ransom.

Turkey has repeatedly – and illegally – deported Syrian refugees under the pretext of violating asylum laws and not amending their data regarding the temporary protection ID card, also known as Kimlik.

In May, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey would deport one million Syrian refugees to northern Syria without identifying a specific time for commencing the process.

To achieve this, the Turkish state has started building dozens of settlements in the northern cities of Syria which it has occupied including Afrin, Azaz, al-Bab, Jarablus, Sere Kaniye, and Tel Abyad.

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