What Happened Over the Weekend in Syria

Honor crimes persist in Syria, Mekdad visits Paraguayan diplomat, and ISIS resurges. Catch up on everything that happened over the weekend.

The body of an infant girl was found dumped in a garbage container in the town of Manbij, in Northern Syria, after allegedly being murdered by her own parents in an apparent honor killing, according to local media reports earlier this week. The five-year-old’s family killed her “in cold blood” after she was raped by an unidentified attacker, “in a crime that has nothing to do with honor”, said the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR). An unidentified man reportedly kidnapped the girl on 18 November and raped her in a field in an area called al-Shahba, currently under the control of Kurdish forces in the northern countryside of the Aleppo governorate. According to SOHR, the girl left her house to meet her father who works on the farmlands before being snatched by a stranger who was riding a motorcycle.

Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mekdad discussed on Sunday with Osvaldo Bittar Vicioso, the Paraguayan Ambassador in Beirut, and the Chargé d Affairs of his country’s Embassy in Damascus, ways to strengthen and develop bilateral relations between the two countries in all fields, according to The Syria Times. Mekdad stressed Syria’s keenness to develop bilateral relations with Paraguay and Latin American countries. He pointed out the challenges and threats that Syria faced in recent years, including terrorism, the illegal U.S. and Turkish presence on part of its land, and attacks by the Israeli occupation.

Read Also: UN Warns of Dire Situation in Northwestern Syria, but Ignores State Areas

The Turkish humanitarian organization IHH has given winter aid to 1,200 Syrian families who live in refugee camps, an official said on Friday. Selim Tosun, the organization’s media manager for Syria, told Anadolu Agency that the IHH provided supplies to displaced people affected by the recent extreme weather in the north of Aleppo. Snowstorms and heavy downpours in the cities of Azaz, Afrin, and al-Bab, among others, damaged displacement sites, tents, and people’s belongings. “In the first phase, tents were set up for families exposed to the cold, and we are continuing to provide and deliver new tents,” Tosun said.

With a spectacular jailbreak in Syria and a deadly attack on an army barracks in Iraq, the Islamic State (ISIS) group was back in the headlines the past week, a reminder of a war that formally ended three years ago but continues to be fought mostly away from view, AP reported. The attacks were some of the boldest since the extremist group lost its last sliver of territory in 2019 with the help of a U.S.-led international coalition, following a years-long war that left much of Iraq and Syria in ruins. Residents in both countries say the recent high-profile ISIS operations only confirmed what they’ve known and feared for months: Economic collapse, lack of governance, and growing ethnic tensions in the impoverished region are reversing counter-ISIS gains, allowing the group to threaten parts of its former so-called caliphate once again.

An American woman from Kansas who allegedly joined ISIS and led an all-woman battalion in Syria has been arrested and charged by federal prosecutors with providing and conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, CNN reported. Allison Fluke-Ekren, 42, was apprehended in Syria earlier and was transferred to FBI custody Friday, according to the criminal complaint and a Saturday news release from the Department of Justice. Fluke-Ekren allegedly wanted to recruit operatives to attack a U.S. college campus and is accused of discussing a terrorist attack on a shopping mall, the Justice Department statement says. To conduct the attack, Fluke-Ekren allegedly explained that she could go to a shopping mall in the United States, park a vehicle full of explosives in the basement or parking garage level of the structure, and detonate the explosives in the vehicle with a cell phone triggering device,” the statement said.

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