Weekly coverage round-up (Jun 3 - 7)

A quick English summary of our Arabic news coverage this week.

[Editor's note: Al-Jumhuriya's offices were closed for the occasion of Eid al-Fitr from 4 to 6 June.]

“The wheat that wasn’t harvested” (3 Jun, 2019). Tens of thousands of hectares of wheat fields have been torched by sudden fires engulfing multiple regions of Syria in recent days, ruining what had been expected to be a high-yield harvest season. Responsibility for the fires is contested, with the Assad regime and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) blaming one another, amid unconfirmed reports that ISIS has claimed responsibility for them itself. What is not in doubt is that at least some of the fires arose from regime aerial bombardment, such as those that destroyed 450 hectares in Hama Province and 200 in Idlib Province. For more details, see our full report (Arabic).

“Idlib’s displaced sleep under the stars” (3 Jun, 2019). Hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the Russian and Assad regime air campaign ongoing in northern Syria since late April have found themselves without accommodation of any kind. With existing camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) already beyond maximum capacity before the latest campaign even began, the newly displaced sleep en masse out in the open air, in fields or under trees. Moreover, local humanitarian organizations are unable to do more for these IDPs than they already are, meaning the provision of bare-minimum basics such as drinking water is in jeopardy. For more, see our full report (Arabic).

“What passes for Eid in the north” (7 Jun, 2019). Despite the ferocious Russian and Assad regime air campaign, many residents of northern Syria still celebrated the occasion of Eid al-Fitr, the Islamic festival marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. Gifts were purchased and exchanged, sweets and other foodstuffs characteristic of Eid were prepared, and children were taken outdoors to play. Tens of thousands even made the journey from neighboring Turkey to visit relatives inside Syria for the occasion, demonstrating civilians’ determination not to allow the regime’s killing machine to quash their happiness and that of their children entirely. For more, see our full report (Arabic).