Weekly Media Digest May 29, 2020

SyriaUntold brings you the latest edition of our digest. We want to share with you the features, investigative pieces and long-form essays that we're reading this week.

29 May 2020


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Meeting results in expansion of Syrian regime control over rural Daraa (Enab Baladi)

“An Enab Baladi correspondent in Daraa reported that the meeting took place on Monday, and included Ghiath Dalla, commander of the “al-Ghaith Forces” within the Fourth Division, as well as the committee’s security head Hussam Louqa and the head of the military security branch, Louay al-Ali.

The meeting ended with an agreement to reinforce the regime-run Fourth Division’s roadblocks in rural western Daraa, as well as the roadblock in Masaken Jilleen, which was under the control of military security before it was attacked in March.”

Russia to hold talks with Syria about obtaining more facilities, maritime access: Ifax (Reuters)

“President Vladimir Putin has ordered Russia’s defence and foreign ministries to hold talks with Syria for Moscow to obtain additional facilities and maritime access in Syria, the Interfax news agency cited a government resolution as saying on Friday.”

Syria’s children ‘go to bed hungry’ as prices soar (Financial Times)

“Food prices in Syria have risen to their highest levels since conflict erupted nine years ago, putting more than half the country’s population at risk of hunger, aid workers and economists have warned.

The cost of a representative basket of staple foods has doubled in just over six months, according to the UN’s food aid agency, as the value of Syria’s local currency has fallen by as much as two-thirds and coronavirus restrictions disrupt internal supply chains.

‘We are seeing children going to bed hungry now, which we did not see before,’ said Imran Riza, the UN’s top official based in Damascus. ‘The reality now is simply that people can’t afford food’.”

Russia appoints special Syria representative to address 'incompetence' (The National)

“President Vladimir Putin has elevated Moscow’s ambassador in Damascus to become his special representative for Syria as signs emerge of unruliness in the alliance between the two countries, undermining Russia’s drive to consolidate its gains.

Loyalist media in Damascus and Moscow reported on Monday that Alexander Efimov has been appointed Special Representative of the Russian President for the Development of Relations with the Syrian Arab Republic.”

Report: Russia building new military base in northeast Syria (Al-Monitor)

“Russian forces are making the base in Qeser Dib, a village outside of al-Malikiyah near the Turkish border. The troops installed radar and brought 12 armored vehicles to the area, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Al-Malikiyah is a mixed Kurdish-Christian area. It is also one of the closest towns to northeast Syria’s border crossing with the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

This part of the autonomous administration of north and east Syria territory is the location of Russian, American and Turkish military activity. Both the United States and Russia patrol the area, and the United States sometimes prevents the Russians from passing through — creating tensions. Turkey and Russia have also conducted joint patrols near al-Malikiyah.”

A Gathering Storm in Syria’s Volatile Southwest? (Carnegie Middle East Center)

“Russia has sought to maintain a status quo in the south to avoid intervention by Israel and Jordan, who fear that the regime’s military and security forces would open the door to the deployment of Iranian and pro-Iranian forces in the border area. To shed light on this, on May 15 Diwan interviewed Armenak Tokmajyan, a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Middle East Center who specializes on borders and conflict in Syria.”

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