Syria Direct: News Update 9-16-15

PYD to confiscate abandoned property in Al-Hasakah

The semi-autonomous Kurdish Democratic Party (PYD) government in Al-Hasakah province issued a decree on Tuesday authorizing the confiscation of property belonging to residents who have left the province.

“The confiscated property will not be returned, unless the self-administration issues a specific decision stipulating it,” Jad al-Hasakawi, an Arab member of the Youth Union of Al-Hasakah, told Syria Direct on Wednesday.

“I don’t think this is likely” added al-Hasakawi, noting that the decision will have a wide impact, as he estimated that “30 percent” of Al-Hasakah has left the province because of fighting with the Islamic State.

The PYD will use the confiscated property to house fighters with its armed wing, the YPG, said al-Hasakawi.

A Hasakah journalist defended the decree, saying the PYD is looking after the community.

The decision aims to “protect the possessions of residents who have left from vandalism and theft, and to repurpose them in service of the community,” Zara Masto, the president of the Kurdish Walati News Network, told Syria Direct on Wednesday.

Misto said she is is confident that all property will be returned in the case of a resident’s return.

The PYD's local legislative council meets on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Legislation Council of al-Jazira District.

Islamic State arrests Deir e-Zor men to serve as manual labor

The Islamic State’s religious police in the eastern Deir e-Zor town of al-Bokamel closed multiple shops and arrested their owners on Tuesday as part of what local activists say is an ongoing campaign of arrests for trivial charges in order to provide manual laborers at active fighting fronts.

Up to 500 Deir e-Zor residents have been detained by IS security agencies over the past three days in multiple cities across the province, the Deir e-Zor is Being Slaughtered Silently media campaign reported on Tuesday. Offenses include non-compliance with IS-mandated religious dress codes, smoking and shaving.

After their arrests, the men were taken in IS vehicles to fronts with the Syrian regime around the Deir e-Zor military airport, southeast of the provincial capital, to dig trenches to be used in future battles, the Deir e-Zor campaign’s activists say.

“The mission of the detainees is not limited to digging trenches,” Mujahid a-Shami, the founder of Deir e-Zor is Being Slaughtered Silently told pro-opposition al-Hal on Tuesday, as they also “serve IS fighters, and move materiel and ammunition.”