Hundreds of Syrians rally in Daraa and Suwayda demanding 'regime fall'

Middle East News
2023-08-25 | 09:13
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Hundreds of Syrians rally in Daraa and Suwayda demanding 'regime fall'
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Hundreds of Syrians rally in Daraa and Suwayda demanding 'regime fall'

Once again, hundreds of Syrians took to the streets on Friday in various areas of the Daraa and Suwayda governorates in the southern region of the country. These protests, which began as a response to deteriorating economic conditions, have evolved into calls for the "fall of the regime," according to activists and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. 

These two provinces have witnessed popular movements for about a week, following the authorities' decision to remove fuel subsidies. These actions are unfolding amid an economic crisis that has strangled Syrians after over 12 years of a devastating conflict. 

In the Daraa province, which was once considered the cradle of the popular protests that erupted in 2011 before being violently suppressed by Damascus, dozens of residents participated in a demonstration in the town of Busra al-Sham. They chanted slogans opposing President Bashar al-Assad. 

Activist Ahmed Al-Miqdad, speaking on the sidelines of the demonstration to Agence France-Presse, stated, "We have come out to affirm our commitment to the Syrian revolution and to the demands we emerged for in 2011." 

He continued, "We have reaffirmed constants that we will not retreat from, namely freedom, dignity, and the unity of Syria from its south to its north." 

The protesters in the town, which is under the control of Syrian factions that have reached settlement agreements with Damascus under Russian sponsorship since 2018, raised banners with various slogans, including "Depart, we want to live" and "Silence today means the continuation of tyranny." 

The Syrian Observatory reported about demonstrations in various parts of Daraa and its countryside, underscoring the revolutionary demands that focus on the removal of the Syrian regime's leadership and achieving a political transition in the country. 

The "Martyrs Documentation Office" in Daraa, a local body comprising opposition activists, recorded the occurrence of protests in at least nine locations in the province, including Muzayrib, Tafas, and Nawa. 

In the summer of 2021, the city of Daraa and its countryside witnessed a military escalation after three years of an exceptional settlement facilitated by Russia. According to this arrangement, opposition fighters surrendered only their heavy weaponry, while remaining in their areas. Government forces did not spread throughout the entire province. 

Following the escalation, a group of fighters rejecting the settlement were evacuated, and others joined the ranks of the army. Nonetheless, the province witnesses occasional clashes, security chaos, and assassinations. 

In the Suwayda province, a stronghold of Syria's Druze minority, hundreds demonstrated in the Karama Square in the city of Suwayda. The Observatory indicated that this was the largest protest since the outbreak of the protests last weekend. 

Protesters echoed several chants, including "The people want the fall of the regime" and "Syria is ours, not the Assad family's." 

A video clip published by the local news network "Suwayda 24" on Facebook showed a young woman addressing the demonstrators. She asserted, "The revolution will continue. Our revolution will not end, and we want our rights." 

She added, "The street is the one that speaks its word. There is only one word, '+We want the fall of the regime+', and the crowd behind her repeated the chant, "The people want the fall of the regime." 

Throughout the years of the conflict, the city of Suwayda remained an exception, as the Syrian Druze, who constitute three percent of the population, largely managed to insulate themselves from its consequences.  

Generally, they refrained from carrying arms against Damascus and did not engage in opposition activities, except for a few. Tens of thousands of young men avoided compulsory conscription, opting instead to bear arms solely for the defense of their areas. Damascus largely turned a blind eye to them. 

The city occasionally witnesses protests against deteriorating economic conditions after long years of conflict that claimed over half a million lives, caused massive infrastructure destruction, and displaced millions of people both within and outside the country. 

AFP 
 

Middle East News

Syria

Protests

Daraa

Suwayda

Regime

Bashar al-Assad

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