Anti-government protests have persisted in Syria’s Sweida for the 12th consecutive day.
Several people took to the streets on Thursday in the city center to demand the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad, improvement in living conditions, implementation of United Nations Security Council resolution 2254 and politcal transition of power.
In the predominantly Druze majority region, the protests have enjoyed the backing of spiritual leaders Hikmat al-Hijri and Hammoud al-Hinnawi.
Protests also erupted in Daraa, Idlib, Hama, the Aleppo countryside and regime strongholds in coastal regions.
An activist told Asharq Al-Awsat that the “popular uprising in Sweida has restored hope for all Syrians as they have expressed the demands of the Syrian revolution for freedom, dignity and social justice for all.”
“These demands can only be achieved through the ouster of the oppressive regime and all its symbols and members and the establishment of a fair and unified national democratic state that embraces all Syrians regardless of their religion and political affiliations,” he added.
Activist Maan Khaddaj said the people are “fed up with the deteriorating economy and mismanagement of state affairs and its resources throughout Syria.”
“The intensity of the protests in Sweida has taken everyone by surprise,” he remarked.
He noted the similarities between the current protests and the ones that broke out in 2011, saying the demands are same.
He revealed that the regime attempted to contain the current protests by dispatching a delegation to meet Druze spiritual leader and Damascus supporter Youssef al-Jarbouh on Tuesday.
The delegation demanded an end to the protests, but they have persisted, meaning the regime’s calls are falling on deaf ears.
A protester, Anas, described the rallies as “the new hope.”
“It is an opportunity for the Syrians to break their silence and speak out against the state of affairs the current authority has led them to,” he went on to say.
“It is the right time to release years of pent-up frustrations,” he remarked, saying the peaceful protests are the best way to achieve the goals of the Syrian people.