Protesters in Syrian city of Suwedia shut down offices of ruling Baath

Protesters in Syrian city of Suwedia shut down offices of ruling Baath
Scores of people took to the streets of Suweida, shutting down government offices, as protests against the Assad regime entered their second week.
2 min read
27 August, 2023
Protests have been ongoing in Suweida since last week [Getty]

Protesters in the southern Syrian city of Suweida on Sunday shut down the headquarters of President Bashar al-Assad’s ruling Baath party, as anti-regime demonstrations entered their second of week.

The correspondent of the New Arab’s sister site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed saw scores of protesters taking to the streets and assembling at the Al-Karama Square in the centre of the city.

Women were well represented among the protesters, as were families of political prisoners in the Assad regime’s jails, the correspondent said.

The protesters chanted slogans calling for the regime’s fall and others stressing Syria’s unity. The latter slogans were in response to accusations in regime media that the protesters had a separatist agenda.

The protests – accompanied by a general strike have been ongoing in Suweida province since last Sunday, and have spread to neighbouring Daraa province and regime-held Aleppo. Demonstrators in rebel-held Idlib province have also voiced support for the Suweida protests.

The anti-regime demonstrations in Suweida were triggered by rising prices and economic hardship. A general strike in the city has been ongoing since last week.

Druze-majority Suweida province in southern Syria has seen a series of protests ever since the uprising against Bashar al-Assad’s regime began in 2011, but has remained under regime control, with a degree of de facto autonomy.

With the crucial support of Russia and Iran, the Assad regime has been able to regain control of most of Syria and suppress protests.

The protesters shut down the Baath party headquarters, on the northern edge of Suweida city, on Sunday morning, chanting anti-regime slogans and preventing government employees entering the building.

The protesters told the employees to join the protests or leave, saying that Assad’s Baath party would no longer be allowed a presence in Suweida.

Later in the day, protesters removed a picture of Bashar al-Assad outside the headquarters of the regime’s feared Air Force intelligence. Most of the government buildings in the city were closed.

Protesters in Suweida released a statement saying that they wanted to make sure that demonstrations remained peaceful.

The 2011 pro-democracy protests which began Syria’s uprising were brutally suppressed by the Assad regime and led to an armed conflict.

Over 500,000 people have been killed and half the country’s population displaced, mostly as a result of Assad regime bombardment of civilian areas.

The website encountered an unexpected error. Please try again later.