Yesterday, 25 August, the revolution flag flew high in villages, towns and cities across Syria. In Sweida, Dera’a, Aleppo, Idlib, Raqqa, Hasakeh and Deir Al Zour, thousands were on the streets reviving the chants of the revolution.
Protests erupted in the south of the country a few days ago, in regime-held Sweida and Dera’a. They were triggered by the cost-of-living crisis, especially the recent increase in fuel prices as subsidies were cut. People are struggling to meet their basic needs – one of the reasons many are still fleeing the country. More than 90 percent of the population lives below the poverty line and half of the population are food insecure. A Syrian state employee currently earns around $10 per month, no where near enough to provide for a family as basic food items spiral in price. It is the regime which has brought the country to ruin. Protests triggered by socio-economic demands soon escalated to renewed calls for Assad’s downfall.
In Druze-majority Sweida the clerical establishment has voiced support for the protests, signaling a shift in a region which has previously maintained a position of neutrality through the revolution. Druze protesters sang revolutionary songs “Syria is ours, not Assad’s”, they chanted. They also chanted the anti-sectarian slogan “one, one, one, the Syrian people are one” and Bedouin Sunni tribesmen joined them sending a clear message of unity in spite of the regime’s ongoing attempt to ferment sectarian division. One symbolic demonstration raised a revolution flag at the tomb of Sultan Prasha Al Atrash, a Druze hero of the anti-colonial struggle against the French. Syrians are once again struggling for national liberation – from a criminal regime which has no popular legitimacy. [Continue reading…]