Parliamentary elections postponed

The government has announced it will postpone new elections indefinitely in order new political parties time to organise, a government source has said.

The previous cabinet’s term ended in May and elections should have been held in early August. But the announcement means the old cabinet will be brought back until elections are held.

The report in Al-Watan quotes the unnamed source as saying the Ba’ath Party will become “one party in a multi-party system and compete with other parties.”

Local media reports last month quoted government sources saying that if the elections were postponed the old cabinet would be brought back because of fears of a power vaccum.

Local reports say Hama ‘secure and stable’

According to local media reports, four soldiers were killed yesterday in Aleppo and Homs while the army has “restored stability and security to Hama” after reports of violence in recent days.

A report in Al-Watan said there are still “armed groups blocking the roads and checking people’s identity cards”.

The army continues to expand its operations in Al-Zahwiah and the surrounding villages in Idleb province, in what it says is an attempt to hunt down gunmen who they blame for instigating violence in the region.

But unlike in Jisr Al-Shaghour, residents stayed at home, a government source told Al-Watan. Before the army entered Jisr Al-Shaghour thousands of refugees fled to Turkey and the surrounding countryside.

Syrian refugees in Turkey blocked from returning home: local official

Syrian refugees in Turkey that fled violence in the province of Idleb are being denied the right to return home, according to the Syrian Red Crescent, a local government official and a media campaign in the Syrian press.

Samir Rustom, head of the local branch of the Ba’ath Party, said: “The refugees there are suffering in the Turkish camps and they really want to come back to their villages and houses. Especially after their relatives assured them that the rumours about the army mistreating residents were false.”

The Syrian Arab Red Crescent has requested to visit their Turkish counterparts, but so far have not been able to make the trip.

The SARC has tried to arrange buses to transport Syrians in the camps, which an editorial in Al-Watan described as “like prisons”, back to Syria, and it accuses the Turkish Red Crescent of not doing enough to allow them to return.

Syria Today (Syria)