Syrians protest against corruption, faltering economy

by Muizat Hameed
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Syrians has on Sunday taken to the streets in southwest Syria to protest against the deteriorating economic conditions and corruption in the country. The protest comes amidst the plummeting of the Syrian pound.

The country’s currency hit a record low last week followed by another on Sunday as one Syrian pound currently stands at $0.002.

The protests also mark the first major gathering which called for the removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as the Druze-majority province remained loyal to Damascus throughout the Syrian uprising.

Videos shared on social media showed young men marching through a market in Suweida towards the municipality building while chanting anti government slogans.

“Leave now Bashar” and “the people want the fall of the regime” were among the chants that could be heard.

Others videos showed people holding signs and chanting “Syria is free, out with Russia … out with Iran”.

In neighbouring Deraa, where the Syrian uprising began some nine years ago, reports of similar protests emerged later on Sunday, though they were limited to Tafas, a town in the province’s north.

The country remains sanctioned by the European Union, which imposes trade and transport sanctions that have impeded the flow of much-needed humanitarian aid.

According to Syrian journalist Asser Khattab, two smaller demonstrations took place in Suweida during the last month.

He said, “Many Syrians have nothing to lose now that the value of their currency is in a freefall and inflation is ravaging the market.”

“Suweida is a special case where people have been more or less under less influence of the Syrian regime’s direct military and security reach which may have allowed people to feel less worried about the repercussions of going on a demonstration,” Khattab added.

Khattab believes that living conditions are bound to get worse, and it is likely that more demonstrations will occur as Syrians “struggle to attain their daily bread”.

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