Status: 04.12.2022 20:08
Since the government regained control of most of Syria, demonstrations in the civil war-torn country have been rare. However, there have been protests in the south that have killed at least two people.
At least two people have died in clashes during protests in Syria. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, hundreds of people took to the streets in the southern city of Suweida, which is mostly inhabited by Druze people, against the poor living conditions.
Angry demonstrators threw stones at a government building, eyewitnesses and the observatory reported. Some set fire to a vehicle belonging to the security forces. They fired shots to disperse the demonstrators. Some protesters stormed the government building and removed a portrait of President Bashar al-Assad from the facade.
Security forces open fire
“At least one protester and one police officer were killed,” said the head of the observatory, Rami Abdel Rahman. The demonstrator was shot dead by the security forces. The Observatory also reported seven injured. The local news portal Suwayda24 also reported two dead, four people were hospitalized with gunshot wounds.
The Interior Ministry said a “group of outlaws” attempted to storm police headquarters, killing a police officer. Some demonstrators were armed. Syrian state television reported that “lawbreakers” had stormed the provincial government building and set fire to official documents and files.
Deep economic crisis in Syria
The majority of people living in the Suweida region south of the capital Damascus are Druze, a branch of Shiite Islam, and a religious minority in the Arab country. Before the civil war, they made up around three percent of the Syrian population. The provincial capital, Suweida, is under the control of government forces. Most of the residents are Assad supporters.
In the past two years, however, there have been several protests in Suweida due to the poor economic situation. The Syrian economy has largely come to a standstill as a result of years of civil war and Western sanctions. 90 percent of the population lives below the poverty line and 12.4 million people are affected by food insecurity, according to the UN.
In Suweida and other cities, there are also shortages of electricity and fuel. The government had announced further austerity measures in the past few days, including electricity rationing.