On Sunday, As-Suweida 24 documented over 40 distinct protest points across the As-Suweida governorate. This robust response to calls for a general strike marks a remarkable and unprecedented event since 2011.
Throughout forty-two areas, the residents congregated in gatherings, a number anticipated to rise further, with diverse manifestations of protest and varying participation rates. Across villages, government institutions were shuttered, roads were blocked, and resounding chants reverberated demanding the departure of al-Assad, underscoring that Syria belongs to its people, not the al-Assad family.
Within the heart of As-Suweida city, Al-Seer/Al-Karama Square witnessed the convergence of hundreds of protesters. They raised banners calling for the implementation of Security Council Resolution 2254, fervently chanted for freedom, and passionately voiced the necessity of overthrowing the Syrian regime as the sole remedy to extricate the nation from its downward spiral.
In an unusual turn of events for the governorate, the majority of shops remained closed, and government offices did not receive visitors. Universities even announced the postponement of student examinations.
Among the 24 documented protest sites by the As-Suweida team was the city itself along with Dhibin, Sala, Busan, Al-Thala, Baka, Sahwa Al-Khader, Miamas, Shaqqa, Arman, Khalkhla, Al-Surah Al-Saghira, Majadel, Al-Anat, Shahba, Namra Shahba, Al-Kafr, Al-Qarya Al-Mashnaf, Mufalah, Qanawat, Al-Shabki, Al-Harisah, Sami’, Al-Mazra’a, Walga, Umm Al-Zaytoun, Ariqa, Al-Raha, Umm Al-Ruman, Sahwa Al-Balata, Najran, Salim, Atil, Kafr Al-Lahf, Al-Munaithira, Rima Hazim, Al-Mujimer, Ura, Harran, agaric.
While As-Suweida has been a backdrop for popular protests seeking change for years, their current impact stands unparalleled. The governorate has plunged into a state of general strike and civil disobedience, with protesters’ chants imbued with palpable anger. The message echoed by the demonstrators today asserts that patience has worn thin, leaving no alternative but to rise against injustice and tyranny, as one protester’s slogan boldly proclaimed.
Spiritual Leadership’s Call for Change
Sheikh Hikmat Salman al-Hijri, the spiritual leader of the Druze, issued a poignant message to the citizens and youth of Syria. His words echoed deep concern over the prevailing circumstances, urging resolute action for change and justice.
Al-Hijri’s statement resonated with dissatisfaction and a clarion call for transformation, addressed squarely to officials and relevant authorities. The banner “We Seek Honor and Dignity,” accentuated the escalating distress and hardship borne by the populace due to successive crises and mismanagement.
He extended his greetings and peace to the Druze community and the entire Syrian populace spanning from Houran to Al-Jazeera. He expressed admiration for their endurance and fortitude in confronting consecutive challenges. Sheikh Al-Hijri emphasized that silence should not be construed as consent.
He proclaimed, “The actions and decisions have adversely impacted livelihoods, and now it’s time to address the root causes of these conflicts and tribulations. We must rid our land of every intruder, abuser, and destructive element before they pilfer our resources.”
The statement further declared, “We find ourselves in the presence of outsiders who have exploited our resources through questionable means, and honourable individuals have been absent from these adversities. Instead, there have been individuals in positions of authority behaving reprehensibly, amassing and enacting decisions that violate principles and the Constitution. These decisions were taken clandestinely to shock the people, subvert their resources, and extinguish their hopes for a blessed and prosperous life.”
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.