After a bloody day, a cautious calm hangs over the Druze-majority city of Suweida, south Syria, which witnessed anti-government protests that resulted in the killing and injury of a number of people.
On Sunday, a protester and a policeman were killed when dozens of angry locals stormed a provincial government building in an anti-government protest over bad living conditions and economic hardships.
The protestors took to the street, raising slogans about electricity and fuel, in al-Mashnaqa Square in the city center, which turned into deadly clashes with the government members.
“Today, the funeral of Murad al-Matni, who was shot dead by security forces on Sunday, will take place,” a local source told North Press.
“No calls for new demonstrations have been made until now, but the demands will be renewed during the funeral ceremonies,” the source told North Press.
Clashes took place between the protesters and the security forces in the vicinity of the Suweida governorate building, leaving victims from both sides.
The security forces in the police headquarters fired live bullets directly on protesters, killing the young man Murad al-Matni and wounding at least five others, all of whom were taken to the National Hospital in the city, local sources told North Press.
Additionally, Syria’s Interior Ministry said in a statement that during the confrontations ensued around the police building, the policeman Mahmoud al-Salmawi was killed.
On Sunday, the President of the Executive Committee of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), Ilham Ahmad, expressed solidarity with protesters in Suweida and criticized the Syrian government for its policy against the citizens and their legitimate demands.
Ahmad criticized in a tweet the policy of the security authorities in meeting the protesters’ demands, saying, “The Syrian regime is still killing Syrians.”
“We support the Druze brothers with their demands for a better life,” Ahmad said, expressing solidarity with the protesters.
Threats and reinforcements
In response to the protest, Syria’s Interior Ministry said in a statement that a “group of outlaws,” some of them carried individual arms, blocked the road with burning tires next to the al-Mashnaqa Roundabout in Suweida, according to the state-run SANA News Agency.
The Ministry said it would “pursue the outlaws and take legal measures against anyone who tries to tamper with the security and stability” of Suweida and the safety of its citizens.
Military vehicles with soldiers onboard headed from Daraa towards Suweida in line with protests sweeping the governorate.
A local source told North Press he “saw military reinforcements heading from Brigade 12 located in the town of Izraa, north of Daraa, towards the governorate of Suweida.”
Reinforcements included military vehicles onboard tens of soldiers and four-wheel-drive vehicles installed with anti-aircraft heavy machine guns, according to the source.
Brigade 12, which is nearly a 14 km distance from Suweida, is the biggest force within the Fifth Division. It is home to a mass number of military personnel and vehicles.
This article was 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.