« Hundreds of protesters in the southern Syrian city of As-Suwayda continued their anti-government protest on Friday, motivated by deteriorating economic conditions.
Footage shows protesters holding Druze flags and chanting slogans such as ‘Let Bashar leave, Syria free, free,’ ‘ Syrian people are united,’ ‘Syria is ours, not owned by Assad’s family,’ and Death over humiliation.’
Protesters can be seen holding banners such as ‘Religion belongs to God, and the homeland belongs to everyone,’ ‘It is shameful for those who have sacrificed their lives for a united Syria to call for division,’ and ‘The problem is that the one who wants to solve the problem is the problem.’
The city of As-Suwayda, situated in the southwestern part of Syria and primarily inhabited by the Druze community, is currently experiencing protests. These protests have emerged in response to a government decision to remove fuel subsidies and increase fuel prices, a move that comes amidst a profound economic crisis. This crisis has been exacerbated by over 12 years of a devastating conflict, Western sanctions, and a recent earthquake. As the situation has unfolded, these demonstrations have evolved into a call for a change in government leadership.
Using the Druze flag instead of the national one has sparked a debate. Proponents of the government accuse protesters of seeking separation, while the protesters assert their commitment to a united Syria.
According to Media reports, Tens of thousands of young people from As-Suwayda are avoiding mandatory conscription, opting instead to bear arms solely for the defence of their own regions. Meanwhile, the Syrian government has turned a blind eye to their actions.
Pictures posted on social media show some men closing a branch of the Farmers’ Union and subsequently another branch of the Workers’ Union. »