During the past few days, the Daraa Governorate has played host to rejections and condemnations of the Syrian regime’s presidential election charade. The acts of resistance began with publishing anti-Bashar al-Assad statements, which demanded that people boycott the elections, and issuing declarations from most revolutionary gatherings in the province, which expressed their wholesale rejection of the elections, describing them as “sitcoms.”
In this context, various organizations, councils, and committees in Daraa Governorate issued a joint statement calling on people to boycott the presidential elections. The statement said that participation in the elections is “shameful,” describing the election day (May 26) as a day of “sadness and mourning”.
“While our people dream of a state founded on justice and equality, the regime has produced its so-called election sitcom. We, the people and clans of Hauran, assert that there is no legitimacy attached to elections that take place in authoritarian conditions – in which the will of the Syrian people has been stolen away,” the statement said.
The statement described the elections as a link in Iran’s series of hegemonic actions over the decisions of the Syrian state.
The joint statement was signed by the “Daraa al-Balad Committee, the Daraa Clan Council, the Dignitaries of Daraa City, the Central Committee in western Daraa, the dignitaries and liberators of the eastern region, dignitaries and the freemen of al-Jaidur, and the dignitaries and free men of the Golan in Daraa, the dignitaries of the laja, and the freemen of Kanaker.”
Mohammed Askara, a media activist from Daraa, told Baladi News that the use of force to prevent polling stations from opening could be an option for civil activists. He added that the regime will not be able to stand up to the popular will opposing the elections.
Askara stressed that the Hauran rebels are working together to prevent the “election charade” going ahead, saying that: “Daraa activists will not condone the release of our martyrs becoming a way for the regime to polish its image.”
In the past few hours, phrases have been written on mosque walls of mosques, as well as by public roads, calling for a boycott of the May 26 presidential elections.
The most prominent of these phrases are: “Slaves bow while the free resist”, “They fought you despite knowing your father,” “Their country will have no stability with Assad”, “No elections for the Damascus criminal,” and “Our demands are true and truth does not die.”
“We will not allow a single ballot box to enter, and we will not accept the outcome of these farcical elections, which are far removed from [the requirements of] UN Resolution 2254,” said one of Daraa’s elders, Abu Ali Mahmood, in remarks online.
Surroundings of Damascus
In other news, according to Sowt al-Asima, the regime’s intelligence branch arrested six people from Eastern Ghouta over the past few days. Those arrested live in the Dwelha and Kashkoul neighborhoods and were arrested on charges of tearing up images of Assad, the Syrian regime’s head.
Eyewitnesses said that regime intelligence operatives raided several houses. The raids occurred after intelligence officers held investigations with members of the Popular Committees and soldiers at military checkpoints, who control the neighborhoods where the shredding occurred.
Sources close to the Popular Committees in the two neighborhoods confirmed that a major disagreement took place between Popular Committee leaders and the security agencies responsible for the region about how events transpired. The Popular Committees accused the security agencies of neglecting their assigned duties, especially since one of the torn-up images was located only 100 meters away from one of the checkpoints.
According to sources, three large images of Assad were completely shredded, while other images painted red during a campaign carried out by unknown perpetrators.
The town of Kanaker in rural Damascus has also witnessed roadblocks with burning tires in the past two days, amid demands for the release of detainees.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) refused to participate in the presidential elections after Damascus requested to conduct them in the Autonomous Administration in North and East Syria’s (AANES) areas.
The SDC said in a statement that it is not concerned with any elections that “do not fulfill the goals of the Syrians, their rights and political presence.”
“There will be no elections before the political solution in accordance with the international resolutions, the release of detainees, the return of the displaced, and establishment of new foundations for a political structure free of tyranny,” the statement added.
Other areas celebrate
At the same time, Syrian regime-controlled governorates are witnessing “national celebrations and weddings” in support of Assad; by contrast, no support for al-Assad has emerged in the southern Syrian regions.
The Baath Party and its affiliates in various governorates have been leading a media campaign in support of Assad for days, matching campaigns implemented in the 2014 elections.
Since the beginning of this year, the United States and the European Union have declared that they will not recognize the conducting of presidential elections in Syria. Instead, they have promised to hold the regime accountable for human rights violations.
In recent days, it has been remarkable that the Assad regime’s election campaign has focused on areas that it has destroyed in recent years, including Douma, eastern Ghouta, and Homs.
The areas of southern Syria are particularly symbolic because they came back under the control of Assad’s forces pursuant to “settlement” agreements, which have been struck since 2018. When these agreements were signed, their most prominent undertakings concerned the release of detainees. Since then, the Syrian regime and its security branches have retreated from upholding these promises. Instead, they have turned to the opposite act of conducting new arrests of civilians on various charges.
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.