Demonstrations rock Syria’s Sweida

Protests were held on Friday (January 18) in southern Syria’s Sweida governorate for the third consecutive day over deteriorating economic conditions and a drop in the value of the Syrian pound.

According to local sources, protests “against corrupt officials, who are still insisting on ignoring the chaos in the governorate, will continue.”

They said weapons have proliferated and the rate of kidnappings and murders for money has become very high.

On Friday, demonstrators swarmed the streets of Shahba city, north of Sweida, raising loaves of bread and shouting “We want to live.”

Videos broadcast by local news sites showed protesters gathered in Shahba’s square, chanting slogans against the corruption of regime officials and accusing them of ignoring the people’s suffering.

Protesters demanded a peaceful revolution and the restoration of the value of the Syrian pound.

A group of people, including children, raised banners and denounced the collapse of the pound, and demanded an improvement in living conditions, price control and accountability of the corrupt, Suwayda 24 official Facebook page reported on Friday.

Photos published on the page also showed demonstrators raising banners slamming Bouthaina Shaaban, the political and media adviser to head of the Assad regime Bashar Assad.

Shaaban has been facing a campaign of widespread criticism by loyalists and opponents after the release of a video recording her stating that “the Syrian economy today is 50 times better than it was in 2011.”

The Syrian pound in the black market in Damascus was on Thursday at SYP1,300 compared to the US dollar.

UN reports affirm that 83 percent of Syrians live below the poverty line.

Based on Asharq Al-Awsat

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