Syria in Jul, 2023

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 Jul 4, 2023

  1.  On Second Visit to Assad, Jordanian Foreign Minister Discusses Political Solution, the Jordanian Initiative, and Captagon (Shaam). Jordanian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriate Affairs, Ayman Safadi, revealed that he is visiting the Syrian capital, Damascus, on Monday to discuss with officials in the Assad regime the file of bilateral relations, Arab relations with Syria, and the Jordanian initiative. This visit is Safadi’s second to Damascus since last February and two months after the Amman meeting, which paved the way for Syria’s return to the Arab League at the Jeddah summit. Other media outlets reported that the Jordanian foreign minister’s visit to Syria was to discuss the Syria-manufactured captagon flooding the kingdom.  
  2. A Quantum Leap for the Dollar in Areas Controlled by the Assad Regime (Zaman Alwsl). The dollar’s exchange rate against the Syrian pound in the regime-controlled areas recorded a new quantum leap [to 9250 pounds to the dollar] during Monday’s opening and noon trading…The Euro exceeded the barrier of 10,000 pounds in Damascus…The dollar in regime-controlled areas significantly increased during Sunday’s trading and in the last dealings before the Eid al-Adha holiday.
  3. Russian Intelligence Accuses US of Preparing Chemical Attacks in Syria (Enab Baladi). The Russian Foreign Intelligence Service accused the United States of seeking to disrupt the normalization of Arab countries with the Syrian regime by carrying out chemical attacks in Syria…On Monday, the Russian “Sputnik” agency quoted the Russian Director of Foreign Intelligence, Sergey Naryshkin, as saying that Washington is preparing a media campaign aimed at showing that the Arab countries’ choice to resume dialogue with the head of the Syrian regime, Bashar al-Assad, is a “Strategic Mistake.”
  4. Australian Christian Delegation Visits Assad in Damascus (Syrian Observer). On Sunday, Bashar al-Assad met with a delegation of heads of Christian Churches from Australia, including bishops from the Armenian Catholic, Armenian Orthodox, and Coptic Orthodox Churches…The Australian bishops emphasized their ongoing efforts to alleviate the impact of sanctions imposed on Syria and mitigate the war’s consequences on the country’s material and social infrastructure.

Jul 5, 2023

  1. A Jordanian Agreement With the Syrian Regime to Form a Joint Committee to Combat Drug Trafficking (Syria TV ). Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi announced the formation of a joint committee with the Syrian regime to combat drug trafficking, noting that its first meeting will be held in the Jordanian capital, Amman. At the end of his visit to Syria, and after he met with Bashar al-Assad, Safadi held a press conference with Faisal al-Miqdad, in which he said that he discussed with al-Assad “the danger posed by drug smuggling across the Syrian border to Jordan, and the need for cooperation in confronting it.”
  2. Saudi Arabia Agrees to Restart Flights With Syria (Ronahi TV ). The director of the Civil Aviation Corporation of the Damascus government announced, Basem Mansour, on Saudi Arabia’s agreement to restart flights with Syria. Mansour indicated that the Arab Civil Aviation Organization of the Arab League had informed the Syrian side of the return of all its activities and events. He also confirmed that the corporation began preparing its offices in the capital, Riyadh, to start flights between the two countries within a few days after the two companies, “Syrian Airlines and Cham Wings,” completed the necessary preparations to start operating flights.

Jul  6, 2023

  1. Russia and Syria Begin 6 Days of Joint Military Exercises (Al Arabiya). On Tuesday evening, Admiral Oleg Gorinov, head of the Russian Center for Reconciliation in Syria, announced that joint military exercises for the Russian and Syrian air and air defense forces will begin in Syria on Wednesday and last for six days.”During the exercises, it is planned to work on joint actions of the Air Force, air defense forces and means, and electronic warfare in repelling air attacks,” Gorinov said.
  2.  Syrian Regime Source Says Russian, Qatari, and Emirati Companies Plan to Invest in Syrian Airports (Ronahi TV). After media outlets close to the Damascus government revealed, during the past hours, the entry of the private sector into investment, management, and operation operations for Damascus International Airport; through a share of forty-nine percent, An official source at the airport said today that three Russian, Qatari and Emirati companies had been contracted for this purpose. The source added that the investing companies are the Russian “Larousse” companies, the Qatari “Middle East” company, and the Emirati “Airasia Travel.”
  3.  Human Rights Watch Says the Lebanese Army Arbitrarily Arrested Thousands of Syrians and Handed Them Over to Assad (Orient). Human Rights Watch confirmed that the Lebanese army arbitrarily arrested thousands of Syrians intending to deport them to Syria between April and May 2023, noting that among the detainees were unaccompanied children. A report issued by the organization on Wednesday said that the Lebanese army ignored the status of Syrians as refugees or their fears of persecution in the event of their return. The report states the testimony of a Syrian forcibly deported from Lebanon to Syria. 

Jul 7, 2023

  1. US Drone Monitors Russian-Syrian Military Exercises East of Aleppo (Enab Baladi). The Russian-Syrian forces continued their joint military exercises east of Aleppo for the second day. At the same time, an American drone was monitored flying over the area, pictures of which were published by news accounts run by soldiers of the Syrian regime forces. The Russian Ministry of Defense said in a statement on Thursday that the Russian-Syrian Air Force “will conduct exercises to solve issues of controlling airspace in Syria and to examine the efficiency of its air defense system,” without referring to the flight of an American plane in the training area.
  2. ISIS Raises its Flag in a Demonstration in Deir Ezzor. “SDF” is Mobilizing (Enab Baladi). Members of the “Islamic State” appeared for the second day in a row in the city of al-Basira, east of Deir ez-Zor, taking advantage of a protest by the people of the city against the burning of a copy of the Holy Qur’an in Sweden. Enab Baladi’s correspondent in Deir ez-Zor reported that on Thursday, the organization’s members raised a flag bearing the organization’s logo in the town of al-Izba, northeastern Deir ez-Zor…after they raised it on Wednesday during the same protests in the city of al-Basira.

Jul 8-10, 2023

  1. International Court of Justice Schedules First Hearing of Case Against Syrian Regime (Enab Baladi). The International Court of Justice has set a date for its first hearing in the case filed against the Syrian regime, which focuses on charges of torture against Syrians. The court stated that the first hearing session will be held on July 19 and broadcast on the official website of the United Nations. The court also clarified that the session comes in response to a request to refer to “emergency measures”, which Canada and the Netherlands submitted earlier to the court.
  2. Syrian Regime Attends Discussion of the International Coalition to Confront the Drug Threat (Enab Baladi). The Jordanian Foreign Minister, Ayman Safadi, touched on the issue of drug smuggling from Syria to Jordan, during his intervention at the ministerial meeting of the International Coalition to Confront the Threat of Industrial Drugs, on Friday, July 7. Al-Safadi said that Jordan is taking all necessary steps to combat drug smuggling across the Syrian border into its territory and is doing everything necessary to protect its national security from this escalating danger. 
  3. Jordan Says Drug Smuggling from Syria Continues, and Jordan Confiscated 65 Million Captagon Pills in Two Years (Syria TV). On Friday evening, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said that attempts to smuggle drugs from the Syrian border are still ongoing and repeated, as his country has managed to confiscate more than 65 million Captagon pills over the past two years. This came during Safadi’s intervention via visual communication technology at the ministerial meeting of the International Coalition to Confront the Threat of Industrial Drugs, which was hosted by the United States in the presence of US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, according to the Jordan News Agency (Petra).
  4. Syrian Regime Cancels BBC’s Accreditation After BBC Captagon Investigation (Syria TV). The Syrian regime revoked the accreditation of the British Broadcasting Corporation in its areas of control on Saturday, days after it produced an investigative report revealing the Assad family’s relationship with the Captagon trade. The Ministry of Information of the Syrian government said, “Since the beginning of the terrorist war against Syria, the BBC has deliberately provided, from time to time, subjective and false information and reports on the Syrian reality…Despite the channel being warned more than once, it continued to broadcast its misleading reports based on statements and testimonies from terrorist and anti-Syrian parties.”
  5. Former Syrian Ambassador to Ankara: Assad will only Meet Erdogan if the Occupation Army Withdraws (Ronahi TV). The former Syrian ambassador to Ankara, Nidal Qabalan, confirmed that Bashar al-Assad would not meet with the leader of Turkish fascism, Erdogan, unless the primary conditions of the Damascus government are agreed upon. In an interview with Russian media, he indicated that the primary condition is withdrawal from the lands it occupies in the north and northwest of Syria, considering this a non-negotiable condition. He noted that it is only possible to talk about severe breakthroughs for the path of reconciliation if it is accompanied by practical steps and Russian and Iranian guarantees of the occupation’s commitment to the demands of the Damascus government.
  6. US Military Announces Killing of an ISIS Leader in Syria (Al Nahar). A statement issued by the US Central Command on Sunday announced a strike on the seventh of July that killed a leader in the “ISIS” organization in eastern Syria, named Abu Osama Al-Muhajir. The statement said, quoting General Michael Kurilla, commander of the Central Command, that the United States has made it clear that “it remains committed to defeating ISIS in the region … the organization remains a threat not only in the region but also goes beyond it…The strike was carried out on Friday by the same MQ-9 drones that were harassed earlier in the day by Russian fighters in a confrontation that lasted about two hours,” the statement added.

Jul 11, 2023

  1. Syrian Opposition Seizes 60 kg of “Afghan Paste” Drugs in Northeast Syria (Syria TV). On Monday, the Ministry of Defense of the Syrian Interim Government announced the seizure of 60 kilograms of “Afghan paste” narcotics in Tal Abyad, north of Raqqa, located within northeastern Syria’s “Peace Spring” operations area. The ministry said…that the military police forces in Tal Abyad thwarted an attempt to smuggle the 60 kg of drugs (Afghan paste) coming from the areas controlled by the “SDF” to Turkish territory.

Jul  12, 2023

  1. Gulf Countries and Russia Urge the Syrian Regime to Adhere to the “Jordanian Initiative” (Enab Baladi). The joint ministerial meeting of the strategic dialogue between the Gulf Cooperation Council and Russia discussed the Syrian file…in its sixth session Monday, July 10, in the Russian capital, Moscow. The joint final statement issued by the assembled parties urged the Syrian regime to adhere to the “Jordanian initiative” and to take the necessary steps to reach a comprehensive solution to the “crisis.” 
  2. Syrian Regime and Morocco:  Will Relations Return Through the “Polisario” Portal? (Enab Baladi). During the past week, several indications emerged that speak of the possibility of restoring relations between the Syrian regime and the Kingdom of Morocco in light of the wave of Arab normalization that restored Syria’s seat in the Arab League to the regime. Relations between the regime and Morocco have finally stopped since July 2012, when the two sides exchanged ambassadors’ expulsions. At that time, the Moroccan Foreign Ministry attributed this step to the failure of its efforts to settle in Syria. In contrast, the regime’s step came on the principle of “reciprocity.”
  3. Russia Vetoes UN Security Council Resolution that Would Extend Mechanism for Cross-Border Aid into Syria (Syria TV). On Tuesday, Russia vetoed the Security Council against the decision to extend the mechanism for entering humanitarian aid into Syria. The Russian delegate to the Security Council said that the mechanism for bringing aid across the border into Syria is a “provocation and a play,” as he put it. The delegate added that the problem lies in the content of the decision to extend the aid and not the period for it, pointing out that a new draft resolution will be presented regarding the extension of aid to Syria.

Jul 13, 2023

  1. The Turkish “Victory” Party Fails Again to Send a Delegation to Syria (Enab Baladi). The government of the Syrian regime has prevented a delegation from the Turkish “Victory” party (Zafar Partisi), which is hostile to refugees, from re-entering Syrian territory for the second time since the beginning of this July. 
  2. UN Human Rights Expert Cancels Visit to Syria Due to Regime’s Lack of Cooperation (Syria TV). A UN expert canceled his visit to Syria, which was scheduled to begin on July 9, due to the lack of full cooperation from the Syrian government. According to what was reported by the “United Nations Human Rights Council” website, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights in access to drinking water and sanitation, Pedro Araujo Agudo, received an invitation to visit from the government of the Syrian regime and the dates were initially set in April 2023, but postponed to July 9-20 to allow more time to reach a mutually agreed agenda.
  3. UK Says Syrian Regime has Not Dismantled its Chemical Weapons, Which Threaten International Security (Syria TV). Britain’s envoy to the United Nations, Ambassador Barbara Woodward, warned at the Security Council session that the chemical weapons program in Syria continues to threaten international peace and security, calling for pressure on the Syrian regime to commit to destroying its chemical weapons stockpile. Woodward said in the Security Council session on Tuesday, after the failure of the vote to extend the cross-border aid mechanism to Syria: Ten years after Syria joined the Chemical Weapons Convention, Security Council Resolution No. 2118, and 117 monthly reports of the Director-General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, it is still It is impossible to verify the destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons program.
  4. Oman Defies “Caesar” Sanctions and a New Economic Arm of Assad Regime Emerges (Orient). In the Omani capital, Muscat, the so-called “Syrian-Omani Business Forum” was launched with the participation of many businessmen from the two countries in the presence of the Ministers of Economy of the Assad regime and Oman. The delegation of the Assad regime included the head of the Syrian-Omani Business Council, Wassim Qattan. The activities of the two-day forum will be held at the Kempinski Hotel in Muscat in conjunction with the meetings of the Syrian-Omani Joint Committee.

Jul 14, 2023

  1. The UAE Announces the end of Operation “The Gallant Knight” in Syria and Turkiye (Enab Baladi). The Joint Operations Command of the UAE Ministry of Defense announced the end of Operation “The Gallant Knight 2”, more than five months after it was launched to provide relief to the earthquake victims in Syria and Turkiye. Today, Thursday, July 13, the UAE Ministry of Defense stated that its operation, classified as “one of the most successful operations of the National Institution,” took place in coordination with the “authorities” from the two affected countries.

Jul 18,2023

  1. Revealing Covert Cooperation between Hizballah, the IRGC, and ISIS (SOHR). The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has obtained credible information from sources closely linked to militias under the Iranian wing in Syria, unveiling a startling revelation about their clandestine negotiations with the “Islamic State” organization. The investigation has brought to light a shocking alliance between the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Lebanese Hezbollah, and the “Islamic State,” which has persisted for the past two years. 
  2. Turkish Authorities’ Forced Deportations of Syrian Refugees (SOHR). The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) sheds light on a distressing situation involving the Turkish authorities, who are engaged in forceful deportations of Syrian refugees…The impact of the forced deportation operations has been extensive, affecting approximately 956 refugees, many of whom possess valid identity papers and temporary protection cards (Kimliks). The actions of the Turkish authorities, which began drawing attention on July 17, 2023, have raised deep concerns as reports indicate the use of violent and intimidating tactics during the detention of Syrians in temporary camps before deportation. 

Jul 19, 2023

  1. US House Votes Overwhelmingly to Keep Sanctions on Assad (Twitter). The US House of Representatives decisively rejected, with a vote of 394 to 24, a proposal to lift US sanctions on Syria. The vote showed yet again that the US Congress’s pressure policy vs. Assad is permanent
  2. Senior Congressman Seeks New Sanctions on Assad Over Captagon (U.S. Congressman French Hill). Rep. French Hill (AR-02), alongside Democratic colleague Rep. Jared Moskowitz (FL-23), introduced the Illicit Captagon Trafficking Suppression Act, which would issue new sanctions against the perpetrators of the illicit production and trafficking of captagon. Hill said, “Assad is a transnational drug kingpin whose captagon drug is devastating families in the region and fueling his terror partnership with Iran and Hezbollah with billions in illegal funding.”
  3. New Israeli Strikes on Hizballah Military Sites in Syria (Times of Israel). Israeli fighter jets carried out strikes against targets in the Syrian capital Damascus shortly after midnight on Wednesday, wounding two soldiers…The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition-linked war monitor, said the strikes marked the 20th time Israel has struck targets in Syria this year. The observatory said the strikes had hit military sites and warehouses of the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, an ally of the Syrian government, causing a fire to break out.
  4. Russia Is Using Syrian Border, Ukraine Grain Deal to Blackmail Turkiye (Jerusalem Post). Russia has sought to use humanitarian aid and a grain deal for leverage and blackmail. The recent reports show that Moscow not only upended a deal at the UN to enable aid into northwest Syria, but it has also sought to sabotage a grain deal it had with Turkiye, the UN, and Ukraine…Russia has interests in using the grain deal in Ukraine and the Syrian aid deal to advance its power in Syria and Ukraine. Therefore all these issues are connected, and Russia is using Syria and Ukraine to achieve new demands. What those demands maybe is not fully revealed by current reports because Moscow has not said what it wants in return for enabling the grain flow and opening the border.

Jul 20, 2023

  1.  Le Figaro Exposes Increased Smuggling of Captagon from Syria to Gaza Strip, Rising Demand Amidst Adversities (Ronahi). According to the French newspaper “Le Figaro,” the smuggling of Captagon from Syria to the Gaza Strip has witnessed a significant surge, with doubled activity across the border crossings. The increased sales of Captagon have surpassed traditional substances like hashish and tramadol within the Strip. The article sheds light on the situation, noting that the residents of Gaza, burdened by poverty, siege, and restrictions, seek solace in substances from the Damascus government to escape their daily hardships momentarily.
  2.  Germany Busts Largest Captagon Production Plant, Run by Two Syrians in Bavaria (Syria TV). German authorities successfully seized the largest Captagon production plant discovered in Germany in Regensburg, Bavaria. During the operation, two Syrian suspects were arrested red-handed while manufacturing Captagon tablets…Investigations revealed that the manufactured Captagon was intended for international sale, primarily targeting Arab countries.
  3.  Syrian Lira Crashes to an All-time Low of 11,600 to the USD (Syrian Pound Today). The Syrian lira continued its slide this week, falling to an all-time low of 11,600 to 1 USD on Wednesday. The lira has lost over a third of its value since the Arab League restored normal relations with Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad two months ago. 

Jul 21, 2023 

  1. Moscow: American F-16 Systems Affected a Russian Plan Over Syria (Al Hurra). The Russian news agency TASS quoted Admiral Oleg Gorinov, deputy head of the Russian Center for Reconciliation in Syria, as saying that a Russian military aircraft was hit by the “guidance systems” of F-16 fighter jets of the US-led coalition during a routine patrol over Syria’s southern border. Gorinov also made new accusations that coalition pilots had violated Syrian airspace several times over the past day.  

 Jul 25, 2023

  1. Jordan Shooting Down a Drone from Syria Loaded with Narcotic Crystal (Zaman Al Wsl). The Jordanian army announced that the eastern military region successfully shot down a drone carrying narcotics within its area of responsibility, which originated from Syrian territory. According to an official military source from the General Command of the Jordanian Armed Forces – the Arab Army, the Border Guard forces, in collaboration with military security services and the Anti-Narcotics Department, detected and intercepted the illegal drone crossing from Syria into Jordanian territory, and it was brought down safely within Jordanian borders.

Jul 26, 2023

  1. American Drone Damaged by Russian Fighter Jet Over Syria (Times of Israel). A Russian fighter jet flew within a few meters of a US drone over Syria and fired flares at it, striking the American aircraft and damaging it, the US military says, the latest in a string of aggressive intercepts by Russia in the region.
  2. The Economic Alliance Between Assad and Libya’s Hafter’s Son Exposed (Syria TV). Africa Intelligence, a French website specialized in intelligence information, said the relationship between Assad and Saddam Hafter, Khalifa Hafter’s son, became more coherent in the past five years, providing commercial opportunities. The site referred to a visit by Maher al-Assad to Benghazi in September 2022, on board a plane belonging to “Cham Wings”. “Africa Intelligence” explained that maritime ties are at the core of that relationship and deals between the Syrian regime and those close to Khalifa Haftar in the Mediterranean, just like the trips of “Sham Wings.”
  3. Iran Prepared to Aid Syria During Reconstruction Period (Tehran Times). Amir Saeed Iravani, the Permanent Representative of Iran to the UN underlined Iran’s support for Syria’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and declared that the Islamic Republic is prepared to help the country throughout its reconstruction phase.

Jul  27, 2023

  1. Assad Received Putin’s Envoy in Damascus (Syria TV). Alexander Lavrentiev discussed the file of the mechanism for introducing cross-border assistance to the northwest of the country and the issue of the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Syrian territory.

Jul 28, 2023

  1. Six Killed and 20 Injured in Bomb Explosion Near Damascus During Ashura Commemoration (Al Sharq Al Awsat). Amid the mourning councils observed during the commemoration of Ashura, a tragic incident occurred in the Sayyidah Zeinab area, south of Damascus. An explosive device detonated near a security headquarters, resulting in six fatalities and over twenty others sustaining injuries. The explosion took place in close proximity to the shrine of Sayyida Zainab, situated approximately 600 meters away.
  2. SDF Members Killed and Wounded in Turkish Drone Strike Near Qamishli (Syria TV). A Turkish drone targeted a group of “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF) east of Qamishli, resulting in casualties. According to a local source, the attack led to the death of three SDF members, including a commander, and left four others injured, including two women. The strike hit two military vehicles traveling between the villages of Tal Maarouf and Khazneh. Ambulances subsequently transported the deceased and wounded to a military hospital in Qamishli.

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