by Aaron Y. Zelin and Oula A. Alrifai
PolicyWatch 3443 – March 3, 2021 – Even if the growing regional and geopolitical stakes were not sufficient on their own, the regime’s domestic negligence, illegitimacy, and criminality provide ample reason to shake up Washington’s approach.
As President Biden ponders Washington’s best approach to the Syrian quandaries that bedeviled the previous two administrations, it can confidently draw at least one conclusion: Bashar al-Assad’s regime has abdicated all levels of responsibility as a legitimate ruler. Part of this conclusion stems from the regime’s vast portfolio of human rights violations; as Stephen Rapp, the former ambassador-at-large for war crimes issues under the Obama administration, asserted in a recent 60 Minutes segment, “We’ve got better evidence against Assad and his clique than we had against Milosevic in Yugoslavia…Even better than we had against the Nazis at Nuremberg.” Yet the regime has failed Syria and its people in far more comprehensive ways as well, ensuring that destabilization, regional spillover, and exploitation by U.S. adversaries will only grow if the Biden administration sticks with status-quo policies.
MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : ERDOGAN’S RAPE – UN report says Kurds and Yezidis targeted by Turkish-backed groups in Syria
Kurdish women, including Yezidi women, were raped and subjected to sexual violence by Turkish-backed groups, a UN report said on Monday.
March 2 2021 13:56 – Turkish-backed groups running a checkpoint in Afrin, Syria, March 2018 (Photo: AFP)
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Turkey-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) is involved in abductions, hostage-taking, and rape of women in northeast Syria, targeting primarily civilians of Kurdish and Yezidi (Ezidi) origin, United Nations investigators said on Monday.
The report “Arbitrary Imprisonment and Detention – Report of the Commission of Inquiry of the Syrian Arab Republic” focuses on human right violations including torture, sexual violence and death in captivity by the Syrian regime, but also by other actors involved in the country’s decade-long civil war, including the SNA, Free Syrian Army (FSA), Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), and extremist groups such as ISIS, and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham.
One month since Autonomous Administration stopped fuel supplies to Syrian regime – By Enab Baladi – 27/02/2021 It has been a month since northeast Syria’s Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration stopped sending petroleum tank trucks to the Syrian regime-held areas, despite the de-escalation of tensions between the two sides.
Enab Baladi has learned from a worker (who spoke on the condition of anonymity for security reasons) in the oil fields of Rmelan, controlled by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), that the administration has suspended the sale and supply of oil products to the Syrian regime since 29 January. The areas under the control of the Syrian government used to obtain about 130 oil tanks from the Rmelan oil field and 50 tanks from the field of al-Shaddadi on a daily basis.
-Auch die ZEIT ist verärgert, schliesslich mögen Mullahs in Tehran das nicht –
Erstmals seit Antritt des neuen US-Präsidenten haben die USA ein militärisches Ziel im Ausland angegriffen. Einige Demokraten im Kongress sind darüber empört. -Februar 2021, 8:57 Uhr Quelle: ZEIT ONLINE, AP,
Ein Satellitenbild, das Gebäude zeigt, die durch den US-Luftangriff in Syrien in der Nähe der irakischen Grenze zerstört wurden © Maxar Tec/AP/dpa
Die Regierung von US-Präsident Joe Biden steht nach ihren ersten Luftangriffen im Ausland unter Kritik. Der Sprecher des Verteidigungsministeriums, John Kirby, bezeichnete die Attacke auf eine schiitische Miliz an der syrisch-irakischen Grenze als legal und auch angemessen. Die syrische Regierung, aber auch zahlreiche US-Abgeordnete aus Bidens eigener Partei sahen das anders.
MESOPOTAMIA NEWS FOCUS : Hamid Al-Abd: Russian guarantor favors Turkish occupation in its shelling of Ain Issa
The Co-chair of the Girê Spî canton, Hamid al-Abd questioned the role of the Russian guarantor as an observer of the ceasefire in Ain Issa, stressing that it favors the Turkish occupier in its continued bombardment of Ain Issa and its countryside to put pressure on the Syrian Democratic Forces and achieve political and military interests on the Syrian lands.
POLITICS 27 Feb 2021, Sat – 05:23 2021-02-27T05:23:00 AIN ISSA ANF
The co-chair of Girê Spî canton came against the background of the Turkish occupation and its mercenaries escalating shelling operations on the outskirts of Ain Issa district and the countryside of Girê Spî canton with artillery shells on a daily basis in front of the Russian guarantor’s eyes.
|In mid-February 2021, Syrian opposition websites reported that about two months previously Iran had established a new militia called Qamar Bani Hashim in the village of Hatla in eastern Syria. The militia was named after the son of Ali, the fourth caliph, who is one of the central figures in Shia Islam and is considered the only legitimate successor to the prophet Muhammad. According to the reports, the militia is comprised mainly of Iranian and Afghani fighters and Syrian residents who have adopted Shi’ism.
In addition to these reports, other reports have also surfaced recently, describing Iran’s efforts to recruit local residents in order to increase the local base of support for its presence, while also entrenching its hold on the area by means of local proxies, as it did in Iraq and in Lebanon.
Hatla village is considered to be one of the centers of the Shi’ite militias in the Deir Al-Zour Governorate. In addition to their military activity, the militias invest considerable effort to garner the support of the local population and its leaders in various ways. For example, on May 8, 2020, during the month of Ramadan, it was reported that the “Ministry of Security” of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp in the village of Hatla provided a meal to break the fast for the dignitaries and community leaders in the surrounding settlements.
Iran also seeks to gain support among the local population regarding the power struggles it engages in with Russia for centers of influence in Syria. For its part, Russia also attempts to garner support among the local population by establishing its own local militias and by providing assistance to the residents. For instance, the Russian state-owned Sputnik news agency reported on January 21, 2021, that the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria had distributed food baskets to the families of the fallen and the wounded in Hatla village and in other villages in the area.
The Syrian opposition website Eye of the Euphrates reported on January 19 that two months previously the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps had established a new militia in the village of Hatla, called Qamar Bani Hashim, which is under the command of an Iranian named Hajj ‘Isa Dahaqan. Most of the members of the 175-strong militia are Iranian or Afghani citizens. There are also 20 Lebanese, while the remainder is comprised of local residents from the rural area around Homs. According to the website, the Syrian operatives were recruited from Syrian factions which are subordinate to the Shi’ite militias, most of whom have adopted Shi’ism. It is not clear why the new militia recruited residents from the Homs area, which is relatively far from the village of Hatla.
According to the report, the militia members receive a monthly salary of 250,000 Syrian pounds (about $480) and are armed with a Russian rifle and a machine gun. In addition, each operative receives a green security card bearing his name, the words “The Friends,” and the image of an Iranian flag. A picture of Qasem Soleimani (the slain commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) appears on the back of the card.
Syrische Kurden bereit, US-geführte Gespräche mit der Türkei zu akzeptieren, sagt Kommandant
- 26.02.2021 01:06 Uhr Gmt+3 AHVAL NEWS – Feb 26 2021 – General Mazlum Abdi, Oberbefehlshaber der Syrischen Demokratischen Kräfte (SDF), sprach mit Medya News über die jüngsten Entwicklungen in Nord- und Ostsyrien, die oft als Rojava bezeichnet werden.
Das nachstehende Transkript wurde aus Gründen der Übersichtlichkeit übersetzt und geändert.
Ich möchte Ihre Meinung über die neue US-Regierung und insbesondere Ihre Beziehungen zur US-geführten Koalition gegen den Islamischen Staat (IS) fragen. Ich möchte auch nach der Operation fragen, die Sie gegen den IS in Deir-Ez-Zor begonnen haben. Und wie sieht es jetzt in Rojava aus?
Wie Sie wissen, wurde der IS nicht besiegt und ihre Angriffe gehen weiter. Kürzlich nahmen sie unsere zivilen Arbeiter ins Visier, und zwei politische Führerinnen wurden gemartert. Als die Angriffe weitergingen, starteten wir eine große Operation gegen den IS.
Syrian Kurds ready to accept U.S.-led talks with Turkey, commander says
Feb 26 2021 01:06 Gmt+3 AHVAL NEW S – Feb 26 2021 – General Mazlum Abdi, commander-in-chief of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) spoke to Medya News about recent developments in North and East Syria, often referred to as Rojava.
The transcript below has been translated and amended for clarity.
I would like to ask your opinion about the new U.S. administration and especially your relations with U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State (ISIS). I also want to ask about the operation you started against ISIS in Deir-Ez-Zor. And what situation is now in Rojava?
MESOPOTAMIA NEWS INSIGHT SYRIA-KURDISTAN : Ibrahim Sheikho: “New York Times” tries to legitimize Turkish occupation of Afrin
The official spokesman for the Human Rights Organization Afrin-Syria, Ibrahim Sheikho, said, “The American New York Times is complicit with the Turkish occupation in legitimizing its occupation of Afrin,” indicating that Turkey has bought it off as well as another Spanish newspaper, similar to what it did previously with the International Weapons Prohibition Organization when its army used chemical weapons in Serekaniye/ Ras al-Ain.
NEWS 26 Feb 2021, Fri – 12:17 2021-02 AL-SHAHBA – LINDA SHEIKH – ANF
On February 18, the American New York Times published a report in English on the city of Afrin, which has been occupied since March 2018 by the Turkish occupation army, in which it justified the crimes committed by the Turkish occupation and its mercenaries, and legitimized their occupation of the city, through its interviews with the mercenary factions of the Turkish occupation and the settlers inside Afrin, who accused the original residents of Afrin of terrorism.
MESOPOTAMIA NEWS REPORT : Anwar Al-Bunni: German Court’s Decision to Jail Syrian Regime Ex-Intelligence Officer Is ‘Historic’
Friday February 26th, 2021 by ASHARQ AL-AWSAT (London-based pan-Arab daily)
Anwar Al-Bunni has described Eyab al-Gharib’s conviction in Germany as “historic,” writes Asharq Al-Awsat.
Human rights lawyer Anwar al-Bunni described a German court’s decision to jail a former intelligence officer from the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria for four-and-a-half years in jail as historic.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Bunni said that the officer who was convicted for complicity in crimes against humanity still enjoys influence in the war-torn country’s ruling regime.
Prosecutors in Koblenz successfully argued that Eyad al-Gharib, 44, brought at least 30 protesters to a notorious Damascus prison to be tortured in 2011, while working for Syria’s most powerful civilian intelligence agency, the General Intelligence Directorate (GID).