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I have previously written about the Hama-based Local Defence Forces affiliate Quwat Abu Ja'afar ('Forces of Abu Ja'afar'). On 8 December 2019, I interviewed a member of the group about his experiences. Any parenthetical insertions in square brackets are my own.
Q: When were you born and when did you first bear arms against the insurgents?
A: I was born in 1988. I have borne arms for five years. I fought first with the air intelligence, and now with the friends [al-'asdiqa].
Q: In which areas have you fought and where are you fighting currently?
A: al-Zalaqiyat [in north Hama], Halfaya [north Hama], Deir az-Zor al-Mayadeen, and now currently in Palmyra.
Continuing in the series of various villages in the Jabal al-Summaq area of north Idlib countryside, we turn to the village of Kafr Maris. On 4 December 2019, I conducted an interview with a person residing in the village regarding the current situation there.
Q: How is the services and humanitarian situation generally?
A: By God brother the humanitarian situation is bad, in light of these circumstances and the expensive prices and the inflation in the price of the exchange of the dollar, and the monstrous expensiveness in the price of the fuels.
Q: How many hours is the electricity operated for currently?
A: The electricity is one hour, with the price of 2500 Syrian pounds per ampere.
Readers of this blog will know that I do not profess to be a specialist on Iran nor do I provide regular coverage of the latest developments in Iran. All that said, it is frustrating to see how much social media commentary on every round of protests and unrest in Iran is simply each side of the Western policy debates on Iran trotting out the same positions and opinions, with little attempt to give a voice to people living inside the country and provide an objective assessment of the situation.
To learn more about the latest rounds of protests that occurred in Iran, I interviewed my friend who lives in the city of Qom. The interview is slightly edited for clarity. Any parenthetical insertions in square brackets are my own.
Continuing in the series of posts on the various villages of the Jabal al-Summaq area in north Idlib countryside, we turn now to the village of Kafr Bani in the same area. The information presented below comes from a local source in Kafr Bani.
The current number of inhabitants in Kafr Bani is 5000, including those established in the village and IDPs. Most of the original inhabitants of the village have left because of the war and lack of work.
In recent times the Syrian pound has undergone a rapid decrease in value relative to the U.S. dollar. This drop in the currency's value is at least partly tied to the ongoing unrest in neighbouring Lebanon. Understandably, observers have been focused on how the fall in the value of the Syrian pound will affect Syrian government-held areas that now comprise the majority of Syria's territory. But it is also important to remember that the currency's depreciation affects areas outside of government control, such as the rebel-held areas of Idlib and its environs.