Syria in January 2023
06 January 2023
1 . Erdogan Calls on Putin to Take Steps in Two Syrian Files (Enab Baladi). The Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, called on his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to take action regarding the two files of expelling the “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF) from two locations in the Aleppo governorate, northern Syria, and to push the Syrian regime to take “constructive steps” in the file of rapprochement with Ankara.
10 January 2023
- $10 Million Disappeared from the Autonomous Administration’s Budget (Syria TV). The Autonomous Administration dismissed the head of the Economic Authority, Salman Barudo, and the cadre of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in charge of the authority, known as Sarhad, on the grounds of the disappearance of more than $10 million that had been handed over to a local investor for the purpose of importing industrial materials and equipment.
11 January 2023
- The Arrival of One Million Barrels of Oil and Two Gas Tankers to Baniyas. Will the Fuel Crisis be Solved? (Syria TV). A crude oil tanker loaded with one million barrels began unloading its cargo at Baniyas port in Tartous on Monday evening, and two gas tankers amounting to about 4,400 tons of domestic gas arrived for the first time since the beginning of this year.
12 January 2023
- Jordanian-Russian Talks to Confront Drug Smuggling from Syria (Enab Baladi). The Jordanian Foreign Minister, Ayman Safadi, discussed with the Russian President’s envoy to Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, the necessity of establishing security and stability on the Syrian side, and confronting drug smuggling from Syria to Jordan.
13 January 2023
- Assad: Turkey’s “Occupation” Must End in Order for Possible Meetings with Turkey and Russia to be Fruitful (Sham News). Meeting with Assad, Russian envoy to Syria Alexander Lavrentiev indicated Russia looks positively on the tripartite meeting that brought together the defense ministers of Syria, Turkey and Russia, and considers it important to follow up and develop these meetings at the level of foreign ministers. Assad said that in order for these meetings to be fruitful, they must be “based on ending the occupation and stopping support for terrorism.”
17 January 2023
- Cyberattack on Damascus Airport Delays Departure of Iranian Foreign Minister (Syria TV). The control tower at Damascus airport and other equipment were subjected to sudden technical malfunctions, likely caused by a cyber attack, which caused the delay of the Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian’s plane.
- Turkish Movements in Northern Syria Reveal the Divergence of Normalization with the Regime (Asharq AlAwsat). The Turkish forces and Syrian National Army factions continued their military escalation on the contact axes with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Assad regime, and bombed, with heavy artillery, a village controlled by SDF in the Manbij countryside, east of Aleppo, coinciding with the presence of Russian engineering and patrol vehicles in the village.
18 January 2023
- Iranian Foreign Minister: We Welcome the Talks between Turkey and the Syrian Regime (Syria TV). Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said that his country welcomes the talks between Turkey and the Syrian regime, claiming that the relations between them serve the interests of the region.
- A Russian Ship Carrying Stolen Ukrainian Wheat is Heading to Tartus (Syria TV). The Bosphorus Strait Observatory revealed that a Russian ship carrying quantities of stolen Ukrainian wheat crossed the Bosphorus, heading to the port of Tartus on the Syrian coast.
- The Jordanian Army Thwarts Drug Smuggling Coming from Syria (The New Arab). The official website of the Jordanian Armed Forces stated that the eastern military region carried out an operation at dawn…which resulted in thwarting an attempt by a group of people to cross the border and smuggle large quantities of narcotics from Syrian territory.
19 January 2023
- A Leaked Document Reveals the Participation of a Division of the Syrian Regime’s Army in a Foreign Mission for Russia (Syria TV). A secret document leaked from the Syrian regime’s army showed the participation of the ” 25th Special Task Division,” led by Major General Suhail al-Hassan, in a foreign mission for Russia…According to the sources of the “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights,” the members of the 25th Division participated in military operations within the areas controlled by Russia in eastern Ukraine.
- The European Union Renews its Rejection of Normalization with the Syrian Regime (Syria.news). The European Union renewed its rejection of normalization with the Syrian regime, stressing that the process of rebuilding Syria and lifting sanctions will not begin as long as the Syrian regime does not actively participate in the political solution.
- Saudi Foreign Minister Discusses Syria Developments with UN Envoy Geir Pedersen (Syria TV). The Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, discussed in the Swiss city of Davos, on Wednesday, efforts to resolve the Syrian issue, with the United Nations envoy to Syria, Geir Pedersen.
20 January 2023
- After They Escaped Drowning… Lebanon Deports About 200 Syrian Refugees (Syria TV). Lebanese authorities deported about 200 Syrian refugees to their country, most of whom survived the sinking of their boat, which was heading to Europe on New Year’s Eve. After driving them ashore near the port of Tripoli, the Lebanese army loaded nearly 200 rescued Syrian refugees into trucks and dumped them on the Syrian side of an unofficial border crossing in Wadi Khaled, a remote area in northeastern Lebanon, according to testimonies of survivors and human rights observers reported by the Associated Press.
- Russia Accuses America of Using the Syrian Kurds (Al Sharq Al-Awsat). While Turkey reaffirmed that it would not allow the establishment of a “terrorist corridor” established by its opponents on its southern border with Syria, Russia came out with a remarkable position yesterday, accusing the United States of fueling the situation in the region by “using the Kurds to create separatist entities” and declaring its “understanding” of Turkey’s security concerns in northern Syria.
- Why did Flights Stop at Damascus Airport after Abdallahian’s Visit…What is Israel’s Role? (Syria TV). On January 14, after the Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian ‘s plane landed, the flight schedule changed at Damascus airport and turned to Latakia airport. The data, which was monitored by the “Syria TV” website, indicate that Israeli hands disrupted Damascus International Airport during Abdallahian’s visit, and the disruption has continued almost all this week.
24 January 2023
- Two Oil Tankers Will Arrive Tomorrow in Syria Within the “Iranian Credit” Line (Enab Baladi). Monitoring and tracking sites for ships and oil tankers showed the movement of two Iranian oil tankers with an estimated tonnage of 2.1 million barrels of crude oil, passing through the Egyptian Suez Canal towards the Syrian coast.
- Anger in Raqqa Over the Killing of a Female Teacher and her Daughter (Enab Baladi). The murder of Nora al-Ahmad (28 years old) took place on January 16, in al-Mashlab neighborhood in Raqqa city, when she returned to her home with her eight-year-old daughter. After demonstrators stormed the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) headquarters near the “Al-Dallah” roundabout in Raqqa, the SDF imposed a total curfew on the city of Raqqa, brought in military forces to the city, and set up barriers at the entrances and exits of the villages. Today, the SDF arrested more than 50 people who participated in the demonstrations that took place to demand the trial of the killers of the school and her daughter, according to activists from Raqqa.
25 January 2023
- France Repatriates 15 Women and 32 Children from ISIS Detention Camps (Enab Baladi). The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in a statement on Tuesday, January 24, its new operation to return French children and mothers from the ISIS detention camps.
26 January 2023
- Turkiye Clarifies the Future of Its Forces in Syria and the Fate of The Refugees (Aleppo Today TV). Regarding reports about the Syrian regime’s demands that Turkey withdraw its forces from Syria, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said his country does not wish for additional emigration of Syrians, but rather wants to ensure the return of those currently living in Turkey, provided that it is a voluntary and safe return after fulfilling necessary conditions.
- Commercial Crossing Will Open Between Syrian Democratic Forces and the Syrian National Army in Northeast Syria (Aleppo Today TV). A commercial crossing that overlooks the M4 international highway is expected to open within 15 days. Sources on the ground said the SDF side of the crossing will be managed by Russian forces. Earlier this month, the Syrian Interim Government also announced it would be reopening the Awn Al-Dadat crossing between Jarabulus and Manbij.
- German and Syrian Organizations Tell Stories of Syrians who Documented Chemical Crimes in Syria (Syria TV). The Global Institute for Public Policy in Berlin launched a podcast entitled “No Place to Hide”, which tells the stories of individuals who documented the chemical crimes committed by the Syrian regime against civilians in a number of Syrian cities. The Nowhere to Hide podcast tells the extraordinary stories of those who dealt with these chemical attacks, and those who risked their lives to tell the world what was happening.
27 January 2023
- SDF Commander: We Are Not Part of the PKK; Turkiye Will Attack Kobane in February (Al Hadath). In a wide-ranging interview broadcast on Thursday, Syrian Democratic Forces commander Mazloum Abdi told Al Hadath that he expects Turkey to attack Kobane in February and does not yet know whether Russia, the Syrian regime, Iran, or the U.S. will stop it. He also said the SDF is not a part of the PKK, is a Syrian project, and wants ultimately to be a force under the authority of the Syrian government.
- Exclusive First Time Televised Appearance for American-Backed Free Syrian Army in Al Tanf, Southeast Syria (Syria TV). Lieutenant Colonel Fareed Qasim said that General McFarlane of United States CENTCOM conducts periodic visits to them, adding that his most recent visit yesterday was to initiate more training to the Syrian forces on how to combat drone attacks. This visit comes after Al-Tanf base had been struck with three drones a few days ago. Concerning the living conditions in Al Rukban camp, the Syrian commander stated that they are communicating with regional countries to find a solution. The commander also stated that his group is conducting several patrols to stop the smuggling of Captagon to Jordan.
- SDF Announces Arrest of ISIS Raqqa Governor in Northeast Syria (Enab Baladi). In a massive raid conducted by Syrian Democratic Forces and US forces in Raqqa, Tabqa, and their suburbs to combat ISIS terrorism, news outlets say more than 68 people were arrested. Atta Ahmed al-Maithan confessed to having been assigned the leadership of the Islamic State cells in Raqqa and admitted responsibility for the December 26 attack on security headquarters in the city.
- Judicial Authorities Backed by Turkiye Announce Arrest of 16 ISIS Members in Aleppo (Zaman Al Wasl). The operation took place in cooperation between Syrian fighters and the Turkish authorities in Gaziantep. The Syrian Judicial Authority in Aleppo issued a decision to imprison 15 of the 16 accused persons who were pending investigation.
- Lebanese Hizballah Expands its Real Estate Hegemony in Damascus (Al Sharq Al Awsat). Large warehouses that were intended for vegetables in south Damascus are now the headquarters for the Lebanese and Iranian militias. Groups from the same militias have also seized abandoned villas in the richer parts of Damascus.
- Syrian Media Highlights A U.S. Congressional Letter to Secretary Blinken Expressing Deep Concern Over U.S. Policy Towards Syria (Enab Baladi). The Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Michael McCaul, sent a letter to the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, expressing serious concern over the Biden administration’s Syria policy. McCaul urged immediate action to prevent any foreign investment into Syria, which he considers a form of normalization.
31 January 2023
- Russian Foreign Ministry: No Intention to Cooperate with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Regarding Syria (Syria TV). The Russian Foreign Ministry announced that Moscow does not intend to cooperate with the investigation and identification team of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons regarding chemical weapons attacks in Syria, noting that it “starts from the illegality of this [OPCW] team.” This came in a statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry, following the issuance of the report of the OPCW last Friday, which concluded that the Syrian regime was responsible for the deadly attack with chemical weapons on the city of Douma on April 7, 2018. The report refutes the Russian claim that the opposition carried out the attack.
- Multiple Drone Strikes Against Iranian Militias in Al Bukamal, Syria (Syria TV). Less than twelve hours after the first drone targeted a convoy of 25 trucks, an Iranian leader was killed, along with two of his companions, as a result of a second airstrike that targeted his four-wheel drive pickup truck while he was on an inspection tour of the location of the first raid.
- Antony Blinken Confirms the United States’ Rejection of Any Normalization with the Syrian Regime (Syria TV). The US Secretary of State made it clear that Washington “does not support any normalization with Assad, and wants a political process in Syria that is consistent with Security Council resolutions,” adding that “Assad refused to engage in any political process on the basis of UN resolutions.”