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Locals attack Asayish headquarter in al-Raqqa; Erdogan says Turkey and Russia have no problems with planned safe zone in Syria

Editing: Amena Riyad |
TranslationEditor: Vera Halvorsen |
Translation: Maan Salti
Publication date: 2019/01/24 10:59

Filed and local developments:

On Wednesday night, the Asayish Forces of the al-Raqqa Civil Council imposed a 24-hour curfew in the town of al-Mansoura, 28 kilometers west of al-Raqqa, Northeastern Syria, after local residents attacked an Asayish headquarter in the area.

Local sources told SMART that the local residents set fire to the Asayish headquarter after an Asayish patrol killed a young man from the Albu Khamis tribe. The patrol was attempting to arrest the man for compulsory military conscription into the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The Iraqi Kurdistan government finished repairing the bridge that links Iraqi Kurdistan with the al-Hasakah governorate, Northeastern Syria, thus reopening the Simalka crossing for commercial traffic after days of closure.

Shirzad Othman, the Simalka crossing’s official spokesman, told SMART that the Iraqi Kurdistan government replaced the old damaged bridge with a new one and put the bridge under the management of the government. The first truck crossed from Iraqi Kurdistan into the area after a ten-day closure.

In Northern Syria, the Political Body in the Idlib governorate, Northern Syria, said that the decision of some donor organizations to suspend support for the Free Idlib Health Directorate will cause a humanitarian disaster, increase civilians' suffering and deprive them of their basic rights.

In a statement, the Political Body added that they regretted that some organizations stopped their medical support for the Idlib Health Directorate, which provides medical and ambulance services to more than three million Syrians in the governorate.

On Thursday, activists told SMART that unknown persons broke into the clinic of the dentist Obeid al-Obeid in the village of Deir Hassan near the city of Idlib on Tuesday. The kidnappers took the dentist, who is from the village of Hammadat Omar in the nearby governorate of Hama, to an unknown destination. No more details about the incident was reported.   

In Aleppo, the military court of the Turkish-backed National Army issued a decision to suspend former fighters and ban local officials from taking administrative posts.

In a statement obtained by SMART, the military court banned 41 fighters and officials from joining any National Army faction, revolutionary and civil associations. The decision was based on security information and investigations after a security campaign against corruption in Northern Aleppo.

International and political developments:

During a press conference with the Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey and Russia do not have any disagreements about the planned safe zone in Northern Syria.

Putin and Erdogan discussed several issues, including issues about Syria. After the discussions, Putin said that they discussed steps to stabilize the situation in the Idlib governorate.

Erdogan said that Turkey and Russia need to work together against terrorist organizations that seek to disturb the agreements between the two countries regarding Idlib. Erdogan added that they discussed the issue of Syrian refugees returning to Syria, without adding further details.

The Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Turkey and the United States started discussing which parties will participate in the administration of Manbij, east of Aleppo.

Cavusoglu's statement came in a press interview with the Turkish foreign minister, where he mentioned the discussions about who will manage the US-backed SDF-controlled city of Manbij, according to Reuters.

On Thursday, the head of the Syrian Center for Studies and Legal Research, Anwar al-Bunni, said that the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, which was approved by the United States House of Representatives on Tuesday, supports human rights organizations only morally.

The Caesar Act allows the US Secretary of State to support non-governmental human rights organizations that collect evidence and documents of war crimes and crimes against humanity to prosecute perpetrators. The act also prevents the arrest of any employees of these organizations unless they are wanted for terrorism.