The Suweida Mouvement Seen from Up Close

Syrians are holding onto hope that the movement unfolding in the city of Suweida will serve as a beacon of change, Ali Safar writes in Syria TV

Syrians are holding onto hope that the movement unfolding in the city of Suweida will serve as a beacon of change, distinct from the tumultuous situations in other regions. This hope is rooted not only in the strategies employed by the revolutionaries, such as tailored actions and responses based on local dynamics but also in the reactions of various societal actors. It is intertwined with a keen awareness of the internal dynamics of the regime, the reception of events by its Russian and Iranian allies, as well as regional and international stances. All of these elements combine to create tools of regional influence that hinder the regime’s attempts to create hotbeds of tension leading to armed confrontations, which in turn could provide a pretext for repressive security measures.

However, the true source of the immense hope associated with this movement goes beyond these considerations. It stems from a prevailing sentiment that, 13 years after its inception, the Syrian revolution finds itself in an unprecedented state—suspended in time. It has neither achieved victory nor been extinguished. Instead of a clear-cut conflict, the dictatorial regime persists as a central obstacle, albeit not the sole one. The revolution is no longer solely confronting a single adversary; it now contends with an array of forces that not only aim to crush the people’s will but also seek to erode their national identity, splintering and dispersing them, rendering individuals and groups akin to wandering nomads, both within their homeland and abroad, in search of salvation.

Consequently, there is great anticipation surrounding the events in Karama Square. Yet, this hope also engenders a desire for a swift and definitive resolution, something that has eluded the revolution in the past thirteen years.

The Suweida Uprising: Lessons After Three Months

Within this perspective, the question of “what comes next” gains prominence. Others focus on the imperative of openly and explicitly linking the Suweida movement with opposition political forces, both domestically and internationally.

Nevertheless, those who advocate for such steps should not overlook the significant efforts made by activists to maintain unity within the movement’s leadership. Equally important are the endeavours to elevate the leadership to higher levels, creating a national front that unites all segments of the local community, regardless of their affiliations. These efforts are guided by the fundamental principle of implementing International Resolution 2254, which calls for a peaceful transition of power.

Revolutionary momentum is not solely sustained by aspirations but also by a strategic political approach, essential for overcoming domestic and foreign obstacles. It relies on internal approaches that encourage dormant groups to shed their historical reluctance toward engaging in politics, a reluctance instilled by the Baath regime, which had deemed political engagement a sin. Convincing such groups is an arduous task that demands time and caution, particularly in environments characterized by fear of reprisals.

The surface manifestations of the movement, evident in live broadcasts from protest hotspots in Suweida city and throughout the governorate, represent only a fraction of the burdens associated with launching a revolution against a brutal authoritarian regime. These public displays mask a deeper significance—a shift in the static Syrian status quo. Despite the regime’s assertion that these events do not concern it and have no impact, a local dynamic has emerged that challenges the prevailing narrative. Syrians have demonstrated their capacity to assert themselves, regardless of external interventions and foreseeable futures. This alternative narrative enhances the legitimacy and authenticity of the change envisioned by the 2011 revolution.

The regime’s strategy to divide the local community surrounding the revolutionaries, pressuring societal groups to compromise their principles in exchange for safety and avoiding punishment, has backfired. Activists have succeeded in engaging with silent segments of the population, persuading them to join the protests. The presence of groups bearing trade union and professional banners in Karama Square signifies, among other things, that the movement has succeeded in fracturing the regime’s support base. This is a significant departure from the past when the regime had co-opted civil society union forces and subjected them to the authority of its regional leadership offices since the late 1970s.

The sustained momentum of the movement evokes parallels with historical moments, such as the 1936 general strike that played a pivotal role in gaining independence from the French mandatory state. Despite the initial simplicity of narratives about liberation from colonialism, the intricacies of these events continue to be dissected. Historians are now engaged in deciphering motivations, analyzing roles, and assessing the impact of errors and improvisations, all of which can either delay or hasten the realization of the ultimate truth—the liberation of Syrians from tyranny, after decades of sacrificing generations to its oppressive rule.

 

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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