The village of Yalda in southern Damascus entered a reconciliation agreement with Assad’s regime in 2014. The people in this village hoped it would give them some reprieve from the suffering inflicted by the military, that they would be able to repair their homes and regain some sense of normalcy. What they got instead was forced recruitment of their youth, campaigns of arrests by the security forces, confiscation of property and neglect of basic services. And to make matters even worse, they entered the new year with Assad’s security forces conducting a raid in which some children were arrested.
If you walk down the famous “Al Koshk Square” in the center of Yalda, you will see ruins, excavated roads and piles of rubbish everywhere. All clear signs of collective punishment through neglect that the regime is inflicting upon the people who supposedly “reconciled” more than five years ago. This despite the fact that more than 200 people from this area who reconciled with Assad were killed in fighting in the north of Syria after being forcibly recruited into the regime’s army, forced to fight their old friends and relatives
The families of these “martyrs” from Yalda were entitled to be treated well, as is the uniform custom central to the Syrian culture. They were supposed to receive the same benefits and treatment as other families of soldiers killed in service of Assad’s army, which include government jobs and support payments. Not only did they not get any such benefits, but instead the “award” was atrocious public services, confiscation of property from Assad’s security forces ,and arrest campaigns
In the mid-2019 , Assad’s security forces launched an arrest campaign launched inside Yalda in which dozens of young men like “Abdulrahman Hamid” and two members of his close family, who reconciled and joined in the 4th Armored Division, an an elite formation of the Assad’s army. At the end of 2019, arrests continued and “Ali Abo Stef” who was playing a big role in reconciliation agreement of Yalda village was arrested, while at the same time properties of several Yalda families who fled Syria, which included 16 houses and dozens of pieces of land, were confiscated