Syrian activists have launched an online campaign under the title "Take Action for Dara’a" to shed light on the unprecedentedly brutal bombing campaign that Russia and the pro-regime militias have launched on the province since early June.
Spokesman for the campaign Samir Saadi said that they have contacted human rights organizations concerned with the Syrian issue, including Doctors Without Borders (MSF), Save the Children, and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Saadi said that over 85% of the FSA-held parts of Dara’a city has been reduced to rubble as a result of the ongoing bombing campaign. At least 20,000 people have been displaced from Dara’a city, while over 70,000 others have been displaced from the surrounding towns of Naiema, Yadoudah, and the villages straggling along Dara’a-Damascus highway.
Over 500 barrel bombs, some of them filled with the internationally banned napalm, and 500 heavy rockets having massive destructive power as well as hundreds of airstrikes have so far hit the city.
About 20 civilians were killed in artillery and aerial bombardment on the town of Tafas on Wednesday and in an explosion of a IED in the Lajat area 75 km northeast of Dara’a city.
Saadi pointed out that the onslaught on Dara’a is being spearheaded by the Iranian-backed militias, Hezbollah militias, the Afghan Fatimyoun Brigade, and the Iraqi Nujabaa’ Militia is being supported by close Russian aerial cover. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Smart News Network)
The Syrian Coalition on Wednesday held a teleconference with the local council in Dara’a to discuss the latest developments of the brutal onslaught being waged by the Assad regime and the Iranian militias on the city and the surrounding towns and villages.
The council declared Dara’a city as well as the towns of Yadoudah, Naiema, Um Almayathin, Tareeq Alasad, and Dara’a camp for Palestinian refugees disaster areas as a result of the relentless, indiscriminate bombardment that has been ongoing since early June.
President of the Syrian Coalition Riad Seif asked members of the council to list the most urgent basic needs in the province so that the Coalition can work on meeting them as soon as possible. The ongoing onslaught on Dara’s has caused the humanitarian situation in the province to deteriorate sharply.
Seif stressed the importance of documenting the crimes being committed by the Assad regime and its allied foreign militias as well as documenting the types of weapons they are using in the bombing of civilians. Seif described this step as important to condemn the regime in front of the international community.
Ali Salkhadi, head of the local council in Dara’a, said that the onslaught on the province began over two months ago, pointing out that that Assad regime and its allies are using the most lethal internationally prohibited weapons in the bombing campaign on the province.
Salkhadi noted that the Assad regime and Russian airstrikes have destroyed most of the infrastructure and residential buildings in the FSA-held areas.
Regime forces and their allies are using napalm, heavy rockets, and barrel bombs in the bombing of the city, Salkhadi added, stressing that the FSA fighters are steadfast despite the lack of sufficient support.
The fierce onslaught on Dara’a has forced about 20,000 people to flee their homes and seek refuge among olive groves and on the Jordanian border. The sectarian Iranian militias are targeting people even in the open, Salkhadi said.
Salkhadi went on to say that humanitarian situation in the province continues to deteriorate, noting that the bombings destroyed a field hospital as well as the Jeeza and Naiema hospitals amid lack of medical supplies.
Secretary-General of the Syrian Coalition Nazir Hakim praised the legendary steadfastness of the FSA fighters in Dara’a against the brutal regime and its allied militias, reiterating the Coalition’s full support for the FSA fighters.
"Just as Dara’a is the cradle of the revolution, hopefully it will be the cradle of victory through the determination of its FSA fighters," Hakim said.
Hakim said that the Coalition will convey the messages of the local council and the suffering of the people of Dara’a to the international community, the United Nations, the Arab League, human rights organizations, and the UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura. He pointed out that the Coalition will work on exposing the crimes of the regime and its allies as well as the blatant Russian intervention in Syria and its role in the killing of the Syrian people.
Member of the Coalition’s political committee Oqab Yahya expressed concern that what happened in Aleppo might be repeated in Dara’a. He called on the FSA groups to close ranks and take lessons from the setbacks experienced by other areas in Syria to prevent a repeat of the tragedy of Aleppo in Dara’a. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The local council in the city of Dara’a appealed to all human rights and international organizations to take urgent actions to relieve residents of the city and force the Assad regime and its allies to stop their fierce onslaught on the city.
In a press release issued on Monday, the council said that the ongoing bombardment destroyed infrastructure and put all field hospitals in the city out of service, stressing that these actions represent a blatant violation of international conventions.
The council declared the city of Dara’a, especially the Manshiya district as well as the surrounding towns and villages, disaster areas as it stressed the need to urgently relieve residents of these areas.
The Assad regime forces and their allied foreign militias pounded the FSA-held parts of Dara’a with over 500 barrel bombs and 500 surface-to-surface missiles, while Russian jets conducted nearly air 100 airstrikes on the city.
The Syrian Coalition strongly condemned the escalating onslaught on Dara’a city, stressing that these attacks constitute a blatant violation of the UN Security Council resolutions on Syria and the obligations incurred on the parties to these resolutions.
The Coalition called upon all members of the international community to shoulder their responsibilities towards the repeated, indiscriminate use of the incendiary napalm-filled barrel bombs, an internationally banned weapon. The Coalition warned of dire consequences of the continued silence over this barbaric, criminal onslaught by regime and allied forces. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Assad regime is using internationally banned weapons in its onslaught on the city of Dara’a, causing civilian casualties and widespread destruction to vital civilian facilities.
Activists said that the Assad regime forces stepped up their military campaign on Sunday and targeted populated areas with more than 20 napalm-filled barrel bombs. The bombing mainly targeted residential buildings and vital civilian facilities.
Activists added that the bombing set fire to dozens of houses and shops and put a bakery out of service. Fire also broke out in the northern parts of the Omari mosque as a result of the bombings.
The Syrian Coalition called upon all members of the international community to shoulder their responsibilities towards the repeated, indiscriminate use of the incendiary napalm-filled barrel bombs, an internationally banned weapon.
In a press release issued on Monday, the Coalition warned of the dire consequences of the continued silence over this barbaric, criminal onslaught.
Assad regime forces and the Iranian-backed militias massed troops over a week ago and began a fierce military campaign on the liberated neighborhoods in Dara’a city. In total, over 446 barrel bombs, 456 surface-to-surface missiles, and 92 airstrikes by the Russian jets hit the FSA-held parts of the city in the period between June 4-11, killing and wounding dozens of civilians, including women and children. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Assistance Coordination Unit (ACU) announced the outbreak of polio in Syria as it appealed to the United Nations and the Turkish authorities to provide assistance to eradicate the infectious disease which threatens children in Syria.
"It is sad to know today that polio re-emerged to paralyze our children living under siege after we thought we had eradicated this epidemic once and for all," ACU said in a statement.
The Unit added that samples sent to the laboratories of the Turkish Ministry of Health in Ankara tested positive for poliovirus type 2, also known as “wild” polioviruses, a finding that was also confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The first case of polio was recorded in the town of Mayadin in Deir Ezzor province. Another case also emerged in the town of Tal Abyad in Raqqa province, ACU said. ACU signaled alarm bells warning that the disease "will not wait at the border gates to spill over to neighboring countries.”
ACU appealed to the United Nations and its agencies, in particular WHO and relevant international organizations to take action to contain the disease. It also called on the Turkish authorities to continue its regular assistance in this regard.
WHO on May 29 said that 50 cases of acute laryngeal paralysis have been recorded in the province in Deir Ezzor since the beginning of 2017, but added that samples did not test positive for poliovirus. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)
The Syrian Interim Government (SIG), in cooperation with Homs provincial local council and Assistance Coordination Unit (ACU), managed to provide drinking water for residents of the besieged town of Talbeesa in rural Homs. The town suffered water outage resulting from bombardment by regime forces on pumping stations and declining groundwater reserves in the area.
SIG resupplied the town located 11 km to the north of Homs with drinking water through the implementation of the “Resupply Talbeesa" project. Pumps were installed on Sariko water pipe line connecting the provinces of Homs and Hama. SIG also secured resources need to operate these pumps.
SIG head Jawad Abu Hatab said the project is primarily humanitarian as the people in Talbeesa have been subjected to suffocating siege by regime forces. “The project has effectively helped ease the siege on the area by resupplying the local population with water and will also support the resilience of the FSA fighters in the area against the dictatorial Assad regime,” Abu Hatab added.
Abu Hatab pointed out that SIG seeks to play a greater role in the implementation of development projects and in meeting the urgent needs of the civilian population in all liberated areas across Syria.
The town of Talbeesah, home to around 50,000 people, has been subjected to crippling siege by the Assad regime for over three years. The FSA-held town has also been subjected to sporadic bombardment by regime forces and their allied foreign militias. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Members of the Syrian Coalition’s political committee discussed the latest field and humanitarian developments in the Houla plain area in rural Homs.
The discussions took place during a teleconference with the Unified Local Council in the Houla area on Friday. The meeting came as part of the reform program and plans developed by the new leadership of the Coalition headed by President Riad Seif to follow-up on the situation on the ground in the liberated areas.
The two sides discussed the situation on the ground in Houla and the impact of the siege the Assad regime imposes on the FSA-held area, especially the deteriorating educational and humanitarian situation.
Members of the Council said that regime continues to bomb civilians in the area. They pointed to a decline in airstrikes on the area following the signing of the “de-escalation zones” agreement but stressed that regime forces continue to shell the area with artillery and heavy machine guns.
The members praised the positions of the Syrian Coalition as they reaffirmed full support for its political stance as well as for representing the Syrian people on the international level as the body seeking to achieve their aspirations and the goals of the revolution.
For their part, members of the political committee stressed that the Coalition will spare no effort to help the Council overcome the difficulties and challenges facing it. Efforts will be coordinated with the Syrian Interim Government (SIG) and Homs provincial council to alleviate the suffering of civilians in the area, they added. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Head of the Syrian Interim Government (SIG) Jawad Abu Hatab and a number of ministers visited the liberated areas in northern rural Aleppo to follow up on the reality of the situation regarding education, health and other services SIG is providing to the civilian population in those areas.
Abu Hatab visited the towns of Albab, Marea, Qabbasin, and Baza'a where he met with representatives of the Kurdish Tribal Council which represents about 52 villages.
Abu Hatab and educational officials in Qabbasin discussed education in the town and the challenges facing it, most notably the long interruption as students have not attended school for the past three years due to the massive damage to educational facilities caused by the bombardment by the Assad regime. The education officials presented their plan for action for the upcoming academic years during the meeting.
Abu Hatab opened a public bakery in the war-torn town of Albab with a production capacity of 16 tons covering around 70 percent of the town's needs for bread.
Abu Hatab met with the local council in the town of Marea to follow up on basic services in the town and a project to restore and pave roads. Abu Hatab and representatives of farmers in the town agreed that SIG will help in the marketing of the crops of potato, wheat, and some other crops.
During a meeting with representatives of the Kurdish Tribal Council, Abu Hatab stressed that all the Free Syrian Army groups are keen on ensuring the safety and security of all residents in the liberated areas. It was agreed that a committee will be formed to discuss with SIG’s head and the local councils the possibility of incorporating representatives of the Kurdish community into the local councils in their areas so that they play a role in the provision of services to the population. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
An official in the Syrian Coalition said that Iran is seeking to change the form of its sectarian militias operating in Syria in an attempt to make them legitimate forces similar to the Fifth Corps which was established by Russia nearly a year ago.
Member of the Coalition’s political committee Yasser Farhan said that the move is aimed at cementing Iran’s influence in Syria, adding that the reported formation of Syrian Popular Mobilization Forces aims to cover up the elements of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and sectarian militias deployed in Syria.
Farhan stressed that Iran's goal remains to link Tehran to Damascus through Baghdad and reach the Mediterranean coast in Syria. He pointed out that the local population’s rejection of the militias of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) is prompting some people in northern Syria to join other military formations. Farhan emphasized the Coalition's rejection of all formations that do not serve the national inclusive project.
Activists said that the pro-regime National Defense Forces (NDF) stationed in the town of Qamishli have recently assumed a new name, which is the Syrian Popular Mobilization Forces.
Activists pointed out that the new formation was formed by a pro-regime armed group along the lines of the Iraqi Shiite Popular Mobilization Forces which were founded by a decision and support from Iran. They added that Ali Hawas Khleif, locally known for his pro-Iranian views, was appointment commander of the new formation.
The new formation has established centers to train recruits on the use of weapons. Its commander Khleif has issued an amnesty for those who defected from the ranks of regime forces provided they join the new formation. (Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)
Secondary education exams were completed on Monday while the correction of examination papers of primary education began in the areas in which exams were supervised by the Ministry of Education in the Syrian Interim Government (SIG), education officials told Smart News Network.
Primary and secondary education exams began on May 24 in 336 exam centers the Ministry of Education opened in nine Syrian provinces and in neighboring countries. Around 36,000 students took the exams of both stages.
Hussam Kalawi, head of the examination center at the educational complex in the town of Atma 50 km to the north of Idlib city told Smart News Network that 12,145 students completed the exams for both primary and secondary education in the province of Idlib.
Exams for secondary literary studies ended two days ago, while secondary scientific studies ended on Monday.
For his part, director of the correction center in Idlib Abu Hamam said that primary education exam papers were being marked. The Free Directorate of Education in Idlib opened two centers in the city of Idlib and the town of Maaret Alnouman to mark exam papers.
Abu Hamam added that 200 teachers were recruited to mark the papers and are working for eight hours a day at the correction center in the city of Idlib.
SIG is seeking to secure support from the European Union for new projects in the area of educational which face major challenges, most notably the continued bombardment by the Assad regime and Russia on schools and education centers.
The last academic year witnessed frequent suspensions of schools for fear of the constant aerial bombardment and the regime’s targeting of populated areas. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Smart News Network)