On Friday night, the cities of Afrin, Jindires and Maraa in the northern Aleppo countryside witnessed angry demonstrations against high electricity prices, part of which quickly developed into arson attacks on the headquarters of companies that serve the area.
“The protests started in Afrin and developed into storming the electricity company and the headquarters of the local council, which precipitated the shooting of demonstrators,” said an Al-Souria Net correspondent in rural Aleppo countryside on Saturday.
“The protests were met in Afrin and Jindires with gunfire, resulting in injuries,” the reporter added.
The demonstrators found the charred body of a protester inside the Afrin City Council, while another demonstrator was killed this morning after being shot during the protests.
To be expected
In response to the demonstrators’ storming of the electricity company in the city of Afrin, the company stated on Saturday evening that it has been “subject to terrorist acts and systematic sabotage targeting the infrastructure of the electricity sector. The attacks have affected all facilities, departments, systems, and software. They comprise of burning, stealing and looting computers and all other equipment.”
For its part, a statement from the Syrian Media Union described what happened as “a case of popular anger in Afrin and other cities.”
“The situation was to be expected and a normal reaction against the monopolistic electricity company and its partners – the logical consequence of many previous encounters,” the statement said.
“The peaceful protest came against the electricity company’s unjust decisions and demanded the cessation of practices of coercion, monopolistic behaviour, and extortion. The company did not offer any action that would contain the situation and defuse a crisis that they should have avoided in the first place,” the statement said.
“The shooting of demonstrators, in an unfortunate scene of naked aggression, constitutes an abuse of their dignity and freedoms and disregard for bloodshed,” he said.
At the time of writing, there had been no comment from the Syrian National Army alliance. Meanwhile, local councils in rural Aleppo had not announced any position on what had happened on Friday night.
Solidarity with protests
The protests were met with widespread solidarity from activists and Twitter users for what they saw as a “renewal of the spirit of the Syrian revolution.” Others criticized the arson and vandalism at corporate headquarters and the local council headquarters.
Syrian journalist Majed Abdel Nour said on Twitter: “The issue is not a case of electricity only, but people have had enough and the oppression has skyrocketed. A revolution will explode, burning everything,” he said.
“Corruption and rampant injustice have reached their peak and breaking point. Turkey has the primary responsibility for everything that is going on – it has chosen chaos and failure by insisting on dealing with the corrupt.”
Researcher Ahmed Aba Zeid said: “There is a compulsive situation accompanied by mistrust of all institutions, with the situation ready to explode at any point. What happened last night is a prelude to larger waves of unrest if the situation of the north continues.”
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.