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European civil society organizations suspend work in some HTS-controlled areas; New UN special envoy makes first visit to Syria

Editing: Obaida Al Nabwani |
Translation: Farah Nassif


Local and field news:

On Tuesday, German and French-funded civil society organizations suspend their work in some of the areas controlled by the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in Northern and Central Syria.

On Monday, the medical manager of the hospital Ibrahim Sabagh said that the organization Relief International stopped its support of the hospital three months ago, leading to a lack of medicine and equipment. The hospital expects to run out of means by the end of January 2019.

Moreover, the Free Idlib Health Directorate demanded the neutralization the medical sector from the recent military and political tension in the are after the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).

The directorate published a statement, stressing that it is a local servicing entity. The directorate called on all local and international sides to neutralize the medical sector facilities that provide medical care for three million people most of them are children.  

The Free Idlib Health Directorate attached the names of 53 working hospitals who approved the statement.

Meanwhile, a group of opposition factions in the Free Syrian Army (FSA) joined the Sham Corps of the National Liberation Front in western Aleppo, Northern Syria.

On Tuesday, the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that Turkey could establish a safe zone in Northeastern Syria with support from the United States.

The Kurdish Autonomous Administration said that no one put forward a proposal to establish a safe zone in Northeastern Syria.

Abdul Karim Omar, the joint head of the Autonomous Administration's foreign relations committee, said that they had not discussed the issue with the Syrian Democratic Council.

Omar added that no one has made a safe zone proposal so far and that the only suggestions of such a zone are the United States President Donald Trump's tweets.

Meanwhile, the International Coalition against the Islamic State sends military reinforcements to its bases in the al-Hasakah governorate, Northeastern Syria.  

Local activists reported to SMART that the reinforcements included about 100 trucks loaded with weapons, ammunition and military vehicles. Some of the trucks were covered, and their contents remain unknown.

Also, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) arrested a Canadian Islamic State (IS) member in the Deir al-Zor governorate, Eastern Syria.

An SDF media source reported that they arrested the Canadian-Ethiopian IS member Muhammad Abdullah Muhammad.
On Tuesday, the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) said that cold weather killed 15 displaced children, most of them infants, in camps in internally displaced persons or during the displacement.

International and political news:

On Tuesday, Geir Pedersen, the new United Nations (UN) special envoy to Syria arrived in Damascus for the first time as he succeeded Staffan De Mistura.  Pedersen stressed the UN commitment to the Syrian State’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity. 

On Tuesday, the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied the claims circulated by some media outlets about reopening its embassy in Damascus, Syria. A statement published on the ministry website said that the claims are entirely untrue.