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Syria Today – US Visit to AANES, Opposition Thanks Qatar; UN Warns of Humanitarian Conditions

Your daily brief of the English-speaking press on Syria.
Syria Today – US Visit to AANES, Opposition Thanks Qatar; UN Warns of Humanitarian Conditions

This weekend, a senior U.S. diplomat has visited the AANES Civil Council for the first time since Washington withdrew its troops in 2019. At the same time, a top Syrian opposition official has thanked Qatar for its position in support of the Syrian revolution while the UN has warned that 70% of the Syrian population could soon suffer from food insecurity.

US Senior Envoy To NE Syria Visits Raqqa

The United States is sending mixed signals about the developments in Syria.

On Saturday, U.S. Senior Representative to northeast Syria, Nikolas Granger, visited institutions of the Autonomous Administration in Raqqa and discussed political, security, and service issues with its officials.

According to North Press, the U.S. envoy first visited the Executive Council of the Autonomous Administration of North and East of Syria (AANES), the Raqqa Civil Council, and also met with Raqqa’s tribal leaders.

It is the U.S. official’s first public and official visit to the Civil Council since the U.S. withdrew in 2019.

Granger discussed the political and security challenges in the region, as well as the reconstruction of the city, which was destroyed by 90 percent as a result of the war.

“We handed over projects regarding the city’s security and others regarding the rehabilitation of sustainable key sectors to the U.S. senior envoy during the meeting,” a city official told Nort Press.

“The U.S. delegation gave strong promises on all levels” to provide support to the region, Hamsork noted.

Two armed Syrians approach Israeli border in Golan Heights, one shot dead — IDF

An armed Syrian man was shot dead by soldiers Sunday while attempting to cross the border into Israel in the southern Golan Heights with another gunman, the Israel Defense Forces said.

According to the IDF, soldiers monitoring surveillance cameras spotted the two armed men crossing the so-called Alpha Line — a UN buffer zone separating Israel from Syria — and approaching Israel’s security fence.

“IDF soldiers were dispatched to the scene and opened fire in accordance with standard operating procedures,” the military said, adding that one of the men was hit.

The IDF said the suspect was treated by military medics at the scene. According to Hebrew-language media reports, he was declared dead.

The second suspect apparently fled back to Syria, a military source said. It was unclear if he had also been hit by the gunfire. 

Syrian opposition says it has ‘complete trust’ in Qatar’s position on Assad regime

A top Syrian opposition official said world powers should follow in the footsteps of Qatar after the Gulf state threw its weight behind global efforts to hold the Bashar Al Assad regime accountable for the 2018 Douma chemical attack.

Speaking to Doha News, charge d’affaires of the Syrian embassy in Qatar, Bilal Tourkiya praised Doha for the move and said the embassy has “complete trust” in Qatar’s unwavering stance towards efforts in Syria, urging international partners to adopt the same position.

“We call on our partners and friends to adopt similar positions of the state of Qatar, and to join efforts to ensure accountability and work towards a political solution in Syria in accordance with the Geneva Communique 1 and the Security Council Resolution No. 2254,” Tourkiya said.

In a statement on Saturday, Qatar’s foreign ministry expressed its “full support” for global efforts to hold the Assad regime accountable, citing new findings of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Qatar said the report “reveals to the world once again the ugliness and brutality of this unscrupulous and inhumane regime.”

The statement comes as Qatar staunchly refuses to normalize with the Assad regime for its ongoing crimes against Syrians, as countries in the region, namely the United Arab Emirates and Jordan, re-established ties with Assad.

UN Warns of Record Rates of Hunger in Syria

A brutal war that triggered years of economic crisis and damaged vital infrastructure has put 2.9 million at risk of sliding into hunger. At the same time, another 12 million do not know where their next meal is coming from, the UN agency said , according to Asharq al-Awsat.

“Hunger soars to a 12-year high in Syria,” as 70 percent of the population might soon be “unable to put food on the table for their families,” the statement said.

“Syria now has the sixth highest number of food insecure people in the world,” the WFP added, with food prices increasing nearly 12-fold in three years.

Child and maternal malnutrition are also “increasing at speed never seen before,” in more than a decade of war,” Agence France Presse quoted the statement as saying.

Suppose the international community does not step up to help Syrians. In that case, it risks facing “another wave of mass migration,” said WFP executive director David Beasley during a visit to Syria this week.

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