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Syria Today – While Helmet Volunteer Killed; Regime Soldiers Killed

Your daily-brief of the English-speaking press on Syria.
Syria Today – While Helmet Volunteer Killed; Regime Soldiers Killed

A member of Syria’s volunteer Civil defence was killed in northern Syria on Tuesday by a missile fired by Syrian regime forces. Meanwhile, a number of Syrian regime soldiers were killed and wounded in separate attacks in the southern Daraa governorate.

Syria’s White Helmets say volunteer killed by regime missile

A member of Syria’s volunteer White Helmets was killed in northern Syria on Tuesday by a missile fired by Syrian regime forces that targeted his vehicle, rescuers and a monitor said.

The first responder was killed “while conducting inspections in areas that had been targeted by artillery shelling from regime forces”, the group posted on Twitter.

It said Abdul Basset Ahmed Abdel-Khalek “fell victim to a missile deliberately aimed at the rescue team’s car in southeast Atarib”, west of Aleppo.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a wide network of sources on the ground in Syria, said the volunteer was killed by a “guided missile fired by regime forces”.

More than four million people live in rebel-controlled areas of north and northwest Syria, an area hard hit by a huge earthquake in February that had its epicentre in southern Turkey.

The Observatory said that since the beginning of the year, 243 people including 16 civilians have been killed in the region despite a ceasefire negotiated by Russia and Turkey after a regime offensive in March 2020.

Syria’s war broke out in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.

It later evolved into a complex conflict involving jihadists and foreign powers and has killed more than half a million people and displaced millions.

Drawing on experience acquired during Syria’s war, the White Helmets rescuers were also able to help victims of the February earthquake which claimed tens of thousands of lives in Turkey and Syria. 

Hundreds of White Helmet rescuers have been killed during the war.

Medical and Aid Groups in Northwest Syria Fear Worse Conditions if Aid Flow from Turkey Stops 

International humanitarian organizations decried Russia’s veto.

“It defies reason and principle, that Security Council members would vote to not maintain all avenues of aid access for vulnerable Syrians at this time,” International Rescue Committee President David Miliband said in a statement.

Dr. Munzer Khalil, Idlib health director, told The Associated Press that he fears severe public health consequences if the Security Council cannot renew the crossing’s mandate, because many health facilities relying on UN aid will face shortages of critical medical supplies and equipment, including vaccines for children.

The recent earthquake that hit the region emphasizes “the urgency of addressing the inequitable access to aid in northwest Syria and allocating resources for both long-term and immediate recovery initiatives,” Khalil said.

Syrian soldiers killed, wounded in separate attacks in Daraa governorate

A number of Syrian regime soldiers were killed and wounded in separate attacks in the southern Daraa governorate on Tuesday.

“An explosive device” targeted a patrol belonging to regime forces on the road linking the capital Damascus and Daraa, near the town of Al-Ghariyah al-Gharbiyah, killing one soldier and wounding two others, one activist told The New Arab’s Arabic language site Al Araby Al Jadeed.

State-run media in Syria said the attack targeted a patrol belonging to the Internal Security Forces, confirming that one person was killed while the wounded were taken to hospital.

Elsewhere in Daraa, in the town of Nawa, the head of the security studies department which belongs to the regime’s State Security Branch was also shot dead by unknown assailants.

The attack took place near the Al-Hajar Mosque in Nawa, where the attackers shot and instantly killed Abu Jaafar, according to the Daraa 24 website.

In another deadly incident, a Syrian officer in the regime’s military succumbed to his wounds on Tuesday after sustaining injuries in an attack the previous day.

The officer was targeted in a roadside attack in the northern countryside of the Daraa governorate, according to local media.

How women in northwest Syria led the post-earthquake aid effort, shattering social taboos in the process

Asharq al-Awsat published a long report on the significant role of women in northwest Syria’s post-earthquake aid effort, which challenges traditional gender roles and social attitudes, as they actively provide humanitarian relief in devastated areas. Their work, despite facing obstacles, highlights the need for increased support, representation, and resources to empower women in leadership positions and address gender-based violence and inequalities in Syria.

The article highlights the significant role that women in northwest Syria have played in leading the post-earthquake aid effort. These women have stepped outside of traditional gender roles and have been actively involved in providing humanitarian relief in areas devastated by the earthquakes and years of war. Their work has gained recognition and is challenging social attitudes about women’s participation in humanitarian work.

Women-led organizations, such as Souryana Organization and Action for Humanity, have been at the forefront of distributing various types of aid to affected communities. They have provided essential relief items like incontinence products for people with disabilities, menstrual hygiene products for women, basic needs for infants and children, and emergency mental health care. These women have also been involved in rescue operations and addressing the specific needs of marginalized communities.

Despite their crucial contributions, women still face societal challenges and obstacles. Some community members object to their work and reject their active role. There have been attempts to wrest control over aid distribution mechanisms from women, and cases of physical violence have occurred with the aim of hindering their work. However, over time, some men have come to respect and support women’s efforts as they witnessed tangible results.

The article also highlights the bleak situation for women and girls in war-torn northwestern Syria. Suicide rates and gender-based violence have reportedly increased since the earthquakes. Displaced women and girls, living in overcrowded refugee camps, face dire economic and humanitarian conditions. Early marriage has become more prevalent, as many young people have dropped out of school after losing their homes and official documents in the earthquakes.

While progress has been made in women’s participation and overall status, there are still significant obstacles that impede their leadership roles and involvement in Syria’s peace process. Economic constraints, inadequate infrastructure, and the erosion of social protection measures are identified as the main barriers. The article emphasizes the need for representation of Syrian women at international conferences, increased funding for women-led organizations, and investment in women’s leadership development and capacity-building support.

The international community is called upon to prioritize women’s participation in decision-making processes and the design and delivery of humanitarian responses. Funding should address the barriers preventing women’s full participation and prioritize issues such as economic constraints, gender-based violence, and health concerns. The article criticizes the lack of attention given to women and girls in the pledges made by donors at the recent Brussels Conference, stating that gender-based violence and inequalities continue to be defining features for women and girls in Syria.

 

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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