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Protests in Syria over government decision to lift fuel subsidies

August 21, 2023 at 8:40 pm

A man fills a generator with gasoline near the town of Jindires, Syria, Friday, February 10, 2023 [Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images]

Hundreds of Syrians burnt tyres, blocked roads, and chanted anti-government slogans in the mainly ethnic Druze city of Sweida on Thursday to protest worsening economic conditions and this week’s gasoline price hikes, Reuters report.

According to the report, demonstrators near a main city square called for the overthrow of President Bashar Al Assad, witnesses said, echoing chants from 2011 pro-democracy protests that were violently crushed by security forces and sparked a long-running conflict.

“Long live Syria and down with Bashar Al Assad!” protesters chanted near police headquarters and the governor’s office as security forces nearby avoided confrontation.

Syria is in the throes of a deep economic crisis that saw its currency plunge to a record 15,500 Syrian pounds to the dollar on Wednesday, in a rapidly accelerating free-fall. It traded at 47 pounds to the dollar at the start of the conflict.

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