The speaker of the Assad regime’s parliament, Hammouda Sabbagh, has accused what he described as “foreign parties” of being behind the recent online campaigns that have criticised the Assad regime government, saying that they had been “intensified through Facebook and social media and orchestrated from abroad.”
Sabbagh said that Syrians in the country had fallen into “their snares, whether intentionally or not. They are spreading and promoting these false notions, creating confusion in the ranks of public opinion.”
This came during a standard session of parliament, according to a report by the pro-regime Al-Watan newspaper in its Monday edition, which added that the session had been devoted to discussing the government’s performance and most addresses acknowledged the difficulty of the “blockade and the crisis.”
Parliament members varied in their responses regarding the government’s performance, especially with regards to recent situations such as the gas crisis, in addition to the deteriorating living situation for citizens. Many of them attributed the crisis to the “unjust economic blockade” as well as “being inflamed on social media, especially Facebook.” Others believed that the government had been deficient in finding solutions for these issues.
During the sessions, the regime’s Prime Minister, Imad Khamis, said that the energy crisis was caused by what he called, “hostile countries and the strengthening of the American and Western sanctions in the area and on friends, as well as preventing imported oil shipments from reaching Syrian shores despite them being 40 km from the port of Tartous.”
MP Ashwaq Abbas said that there was a negative popular consensus regarding the current government, which had not been seen with previous governments, adding that people believed that the government was not doing what was required.
In her address, Abbas added, “It’s true that there is a blockade, but what have we done to lessen this blockade? I believe that the government needs to answer this question.” She said that the Prime Minister should have put forward what he discussed under the parliament dome in media interviews, because it would have comforted many citizens as the MPs were comforted.
For about three weeks, pro-regime social media pages have been astir with sharply-worded criticisms of members of the Assad government, with even the head of the regime not spared from the blame.
In a message directed at Assad, Nabil Hamdan from Lattakia, a member of the Physiotherapy Association, asked, “Mr. President, don’t you see the calls from everyone in this terrible situation? Mr. President, is there anyone in your government who is going cold, or without gas or without electricity or fuel or water or baby’s milk or suffering high prices. Can you really be oblivious to us, the families of martyrs?”
In a video taken at a recent protest in the city of Tartous, a former fighter in Assad’s forces appeared saying, “Long live Syria, and down with Assad,” in an incident representing a precedent in regime areas, and reflecting the unprecedented state of daring and frustration among Assad’s popular base.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.