The regime of President Bashar Al-Assad has hidden a statue of his father Hafez behind the police station in the southern Syrian city of Sweida, in efforts to protect it from being damaged by protestors.
In the past week there have been a series of protests within Sweida against the regime's handling of the Syrian economy. The security services have tried to intervene and quell them, not least by forcing students and civilians to attend a pro-Assad protest yesterday in efforts to shift the blame of the economic recession onto US sanctions.
In the middle of all of this, it was revealed today that a statue of Hafez Al-Assad, the father of the current President and the founder of the Assad dynasty, was hidden behind the city's police station next to the garbage area in order to protect it.
#Syria – Suweida city
— On the Ground News (@OGNreports) June 11, 2020
The statue, wrapped in a torn Syrian flag and leaning on the railings of a staircase, is reminiscent of the numerous statues of the former President that have been torn down across the country during the ongoing nine-year-long civil war.
The presence of such statues is offensive to a significant number of Syrians. When a statue of Assad Senior was re-erected in the city of Deraa last year following the destruction of the original in 2011, protests rocked the area.
The hiding of the statue has happened as other controversial statues have been taken down or defaced around the world. As part of the Black Lives Matter protests in recent weeks, a statue of an infamous slave trader was pulled down in Britain by protestors in Bristol; the former Prime Minister Winston Churchill's statue in London's Parliament Square was vandalised; and a statue of Christopher Columbus was knocked down in the United States.