Palmyra turned into Iranian "autonomous colony" | Afghan and Iraqi militias settle their families in ten areas and open private mall • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Palmyra turned into Iranian “autonomous colony” | Afghan and Iraqi militias settle their families in ten areas and open private mall

With its strategic location  between the east and the west of Syria, capturing Palmyra city of has become the goal of all conflicting powers in Syria. The historical city had been under the control of ISIS for years, before the Iranian-backed militias, particularly the Afghan Liwaa Fatimyoun and Iraqi militias, imposed their influence on the city and settled hundreds of non-Syrian families in the houses of civilians who had been forced by ISIS and non-Syrian militias loyal to Iran to displace to other areas.

SOHR sources have documented the most prominent neighbourhoods that are inhabited mainly by Afghan  and Iraqi families in Palmyra city, and they are as follows:

• Al-Tamrid school street which is inhabited by families of Afghan militias .

• Residential buildings near Rouwaida roundabout.

• Al-Ma’alif neighboruhood which is inhabited by nearly 80 Afghan and Iraqi families.

• Some houses and buildings nearby the weddings hall on the opposite side of Al-Badiyah Housing Association are inhabited by some Afghan families.

• Buildings behind “General Mohamed Wasef” house.

• Residential buildings and houses in a street nearby “Basel Al-Assad National Hospital” in Palmyra.

• A mosque that has been turned into a “hosayniya”, a congregation hall for Twelver Shia Muslim commemoration ceremonies, for their proxy militiamen, where the Shiite Azan (call to prayers) is used and Shiite rituals are practiced, nearby Al-Qadmous roundabout, where some militiamen and their families frequent to this mosque.

• Section of Al-Jam’yat neighbourhood nearby Aby Zer Al-Ghaffari Mosque has been inhabited by more than 200 Afghan families, after a new main gate was built in that section allowing people to enter this neighbourhood only after obtaining security approvals by these factions.

• A mall that is located in a street between Al-Jam’yat and Al-Motqa’deen neighbourhoods was allocated for only Afghan families in Palmyra.

• Several leaders of Iranian-backed militias have returned back to Mouzah Palace.

Dozens of centres and positions where Afghan militiamen are stationed in Palmyra city and its surroundings in east Homs.

It is worth noting that a group affiliated to the Lebanese “Hezbollah” stationed in the branch of Al-Badiyah Intelligence services in the city is responsible for securing the Afghan and Iraqi militias loyal to Iran.

Regime forces, backed by Russian air support and Iranian-backed militias, regained control of Palmyra archaeological city in March 2017, after the city had seen Tit-for-tat clashes between regime forces and their proxies on one hand and ISIS on the other.

We, at the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), renew our appeal to the international community, United Nations and UN Security Council to intensify their efforts to force Iranian forces and their proxy militias out of Syria and bring all criminals, perpetrators of violations and all those who aided and abetted the killing and displacement of Syrian people to justice.

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