3 min read  | Damascus, Deir e-Zor, Politics

Syria Direct: News Update 3-3-15


March 3, 2015

IS confiscates, resells property at public auctions

Islamic State fighters have begun seizing pickup trucks, stoves and ovens from residents of Mayadin city and reselling them in public auctions, reported the pro-opposition grassroots media campaign Deir e-Ezor is Being Slaughtered Silently on Monday.

“IS justifies its seizure of pickup trucks by claiming they’re spoils of war, captured from the Free Syrian Army [FSA],” Mujahid al-Shami, a civil activist in Deir e-Zor, told Syria Direct on Tuesday.

Al-Shami denied that IS was confiscating and reselling the trucks because it was suffering from a financial crisis.

“IS has become very unpopular in Syria, and knows its time here is limited,” he said. “The money they make from these sales gets transferred to territory it controls in Iraq, where it has a stronger grip on power.”

Meanwhile, Kawatim al-Fatah, a secretive anti-IS group operating in the Deir e-Ezor countryside, distributed pamphlets in Mayadin warning citizens against purchasing goods from IS that had been confiscated from residents, reported the pro-opposition Deir e-Ezor is Being Slaughtered Silently.

Kawatim al-Fatah, along with other secretive groups such as the White Shroud, have taken responsibility for a number of assassinations against IS members in recent months. It has been rumored that some of the vigilantes are former FSA fighters.

Statement announces Arab group contesting PYD rule

A statement reportedly representing the Arab residents of Al-Hasakah announced the formation of a new political organization to contest the rule of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party [PYD] over the province, said the pro-Kurdish news agency ARA News.

“We Arabs, representing what is considered the largest portion of the province stretching up to 70 percent [of the population], will not allow any side, party or organization to control our resources, our lives and our wealth,” said the statement, as reported by the monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

It is unclear who published the announcement.

“This [new] organization….is a creation of [IS] and the Syrian regime in order to create a rift between the different groups in the region,” Sheyar Hussein, an activist in the Kurdish city of Qamishli, told ARA News.

The allegation could not be independently confirmed.

The PYD declared self-governance in Al-Hasakah province in late 2013. Its military wing, the People’s Protection Units [YPG], has been battling the Islamic State for control of the province.

Hasakah2121 YPG fighter overlooks Al-Hasakah on Monday. Photo courtesy of @Annahar.

Hospital owner assassinated in regime-controlled Damascus

The owner of the Mahayni Hospital, his son, and a personal assistant were killed on Monday while walking home in the al-Midan Corniche in Damascus by unknown assailants using guns equipped with silencers, reported the pro-opposition Local Coordination Committee for Moadamiya a-Sham’s Facebook page.

A source from the hospital confirmed the killings without offering additional information, saying that they were waiting for a police report.

It was not immediately clear why Dr. Ayman al-Mahani would be targeted by gunmen; numerous media reports mention a doctor dedicated to charity work.

The al-Midan Corniche neighborhood is next to al-Tharya, an area of Damascus considered securely controlled by regime forces and popular committees.

Syrians took to social media, some accusing the regime and others claiming an “armed group”—implying an opposition group—was behind the killings.

The Syrian Human Rights Committee has documented 81 targeted killings since 2014.

The assassinations occurred on the same day that Ahrar a-Sham reportedly killed General Ali Darweesh, a member of the Syrian Arab Army’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, in Bab Touma, also a regime stronghold in Damascus.

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