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Hundreds protests dire living conditions in southern Syria

August 30, 2023 at 12:03 pm

People gather to protest against Bashar al-Assad regime in al-Bab district of Aleppo, Syria on August 25, 2023 [Bekir Kasım – Anadolu Agency]

Hundreds of Syrians took to the streets in the southern governorate of As-Suwayda yesterday to protest the dire living conditions and demand the removal of regime President Bashar Al-Assad.

The protests erupted in As-Suwayda, an area with a large population of Druze who have traditionally allied with Al-Assad, in recent days after the government lifted fuel subsidies last week, leading to increased prices.

“Few still focus on economic demands (…) and more have understood that there is no economic solution without a political solution,” a protester who requested anonymity said, according to AFP.

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During the protests, the demonstrators raised slogans calling for “the overthrow of the regime”, bringing to mind the unprecedented demonstrations that took place at the start of the Syrian revolution in 2011.

The protesters closed offices belonging to the ruling Baath Party, according to activists.

Tens of thousands of young men have in recent years skipped compulsory conscription, instead taking up arms to defend their area.

According to activists, the regime has sent “political mediators” to meet with As-Suwayda’s leaders on how to calm the protests.

After more than 12 years of violent conflict, Syria is witnessing a stifling economic crisis, exacerbated by the devastating earthquakes in February and economic sanctions imposed by Western countries, which led the local currency to lose more than 99 per cent of its value.