The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Syria war: Druze city of Suweida rocked by rare anti-Assad protests

Anti-government protesters marched through the centre of Suweida

Days of rare anti-government protests have taken devote the mainly Druze city of Suweida in Syria, triggered by deteriorating economic climates.

Dozens of people marched through the streets for a fourth consecutive day on Wednesday, chanting “the people want the fall of the regime”.

The same chant was heard from the beginning of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in 2011.

Syria’s currency has plummeted in value recently, leading to soaring prices.

The government, whose supporters staged a counter-demonstration in Suweida on Wednesday, has blamed Western sanctions and exchange rate “manipulation”.

Next week, new US sanctions will target individuals supporting the us government and its allies in the nine-year civil war, which includes left a lot more than 380,000 people dead.

Suweida has largely been spared the horrors of the war.

Most Druze have stayed loyal to Mr Assad, fearing that religious minorities would be targeted if that he was overthrown, and the city has remained in government hands.

The anti-government protests began on Sunday “with calls for improved living conditions before demands became more political”, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a UK-based monitoring group.

As well as demanding that the president step down, the demonstrators have needed an end to corruption and the withdrawal of Iran-backed militiamen and Russian troops, who have helped the us government regain control of most of the country.

The SOHR said there also had been talk in the government strongholds of Latakia, Tartous and Homs about “the departure of Assad as an option to improve the situation”. That could have been “prohibited” in the past, it added.

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Reuters
Image caption

A rally in support President Assad was also held in Suweida on Wednesday

In recent days, the worthiness of the Syrian pound has collapsed on the black market, hitting accurate documentation low of 3,000 to the united states dollar – more than four times the state exchange rate of 700. Before the war, the Syrian pound traded at 47 to the dollar.

Analysts said the recent devaluation was the result of fears over tough new US sanctions that will enter effect on 17 June under a law known as the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act.

The sanctions will target any foreign individual who has knowingly provided significant financial, material, or technological support to the government of Syria, or even to a foreign person operating in a military capacity inside Syria on behalf of the governments of Syria, Russia or Iran.

Food prices had already risen by 133% across Syria since May 2019 and some 9.3 million Syrians are food insecure, according to the World Food Programme.

Source: Syria war: Druze city of Suweida rocked by rare anti-Assad protests | Armenian American Reporter