Syria Direct: News Update 6-19-2014

HRW: Kurds abuse human rights, too

Kurdish parties currently ruling parts of northern Syria have committed arbitrary arrests, due-process violations and failed to investigate the killings and disappearance of political opponents, Human Rights Watch said in a statement on Thursday.

The Democratic Union Party (PYD) – the most prominent Syrian Kurdish political and military group – has controlled enclaves of northern and eastern Syria since 2012 when the Syrian government withdrew most of its forces. The group declared self governance in late 2013 and has run local administration in the areas it controls.

The PYD has also used children in its military and police forces, the New York-based rights organization documented in a report released Thursday. Human Rights Watch has also reported serious human rights abuses by the Syrian government and opposition fighters since 2011.

The information was gathered from series of interviews collected by the group in a visit to Kurdish controlled areas early this year.

Aid enters encircled Deir e-Zor

Aid reportedly entered the besieged city of Deir e-Zor for the first time in two weeks after an agreement between opposition parties and the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) Wednesday, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human rights.

The opposition-controlled city has been under blockade since ISIS seized control of the a-Siyasiya Bridge on June 3, the rebels’ only supply line in to the city. Both the regime and ISIS have encircled it from different points.

Embedded image permalinkAn agreement with ISIS allows food aid into Deir e-Zor. Photo courtesy of @MrsadAljihad.

The agreement between ISIS and the Mujahideen Shura Council – an alliance of the Islamic Front, Jabhat a-Nusra and local tribes and militias – stipulates that neutral parties will ensure the continuous entrance of food aid across the a-Siyasiya Bridge, said Iranian pro-regime news agency al Alam.

Meanwhile, a number of prominent opposition officers in Deir e-Zor reportedly defected to ISIS Wednesday, the Lebanese newspaper al Akhbar reported.

The oil-rich eastern province of Deir e-Zor, which shares a border with Iraq, has witnessed increased ISIS activity since the Al-Qaeda offshoot took over Mosul – the second largest city in Iraq – and other parts of Iraq over the past two weeks.

Regime attack near Jordan-Syria border

The Syrian government attacked a refugee camp near the Jordanian border, an activist said Thursday, as hundreds of Syrians flee violence this week by crossing into north Jordan.

“There were three airstrikes from helicopters that dropped barrel bombs,” Mohammed, a local activist based in Daraa, told Syria Direct. “Over 400 hundred were injured and most of them were transferred to Jordan territory because of their dangerous situations.”

At least 18 were killed, including 14 children, in a regime attack Wednesday on the refugee camp Shajarah near the Jordan-Syria border, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

On Tuesday, The Jordan Times quoted the military as saying that 572 Syrians had entered Jordan on Monday and Tuesday. Syria Direct was present at the border on Tuesday, and witnessed at least 500 Syrians crossing in to Jordan in the span of a few hours.

Meanwhile, pro-government newspaper al-Watan reported that the Syrian army was targeting “terrorists” in the south of the country and had killed an undisclosed number of them.

The Shajarah refugee camp is located four kilometers from Jordan and eight kilometers from Israel. It provides shelter for an estimated 400 families.

The attack comes amidst increasing violence in Daraa province as opposition fighters have advanced in the area in recent months.

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