Syrian man dies of wounds from anti-Assad protest, medical source and monitors say

Syrian man dies of wounds from anti-Assad protest, medical source and monitors say
Protests against the Syrian government and deteriorating economic conditions have gripped the town of Suweida in southwestern Syria since last year
2 min read
28 February, 2024
People gather to protest against Bashar al-Assad regime in Al Suwayda, Syria on September 01, 2023 [GETTY]

A Syrian man died of gunshot wounds sustained in a protest against President Bashar al-Assad in the southern flashpoint province of Suweida on Wednesday, a medical source and two local monitors said.

It was the first fatality reported that was linked to the demonstrations about economic conditions that swept across Druze-majority Suweida last year and quickly spiralled into rallies against Assad.

Suwayda 24, a local news website, reported that a 52-year-old man succumbed to gunshot wounds after security forces guarding a government building shot at nearby protesters.

A local medical source and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the 13-year war, confirmed the fatality.

Suwayda 24 said the spiritual head of the Druze sect Sheikh Hikmat Al-Hijri met with protesters on Wednesday and said the man was a "martyr."

Last August, steep gasoline prices sparked mass protests across Suweida, a province that had largely been spared the violence that has ravaged the rest of Syria since 2011, when Assad's crackdown on demonstrations against him sparked a full-blown war.

The demonstrators swiftly turned their criticism to Assad and demanded sweeping political changes. Across the province, scores of local branches of the ruling Baath party were forced shut by protesters tearing down posters of the president and his father, a rare show of defiance in areas under government rule.