Donations supervised by the Baath party raise resentment in Quneitra
Quneitra – Zain al-Jolani
A donation campaign launched by the branch of the ruling Baath party in the southern governorate of Quneitra to provide relief to those affected by the earthquake was met with skepticism because the people did not trust that these donations would reach their destination.
The Baath party launched the campaign to provide relief to those affected by the earthquake that struck the governorates of Aleppo, Latakia, and Hama on February 6.
Some residents of the Quneitra governorate who were interviewed by Enab Baladi expressed their dissatisfaction with the fact that the donations came through the Baath party, and therefore refraining from participating may be subject to accountability.
Others expressed their refusal to participate in a campaign organized by regime-affiliated parties that bombed their homes for many years.
“Abu Uday,” a resident of the province, who requested that his real name not be indicated for security reasons, expressed his family’s refusal to make donations and appear on television and social media as a supporter of the regime’s government in its attempts to appear with a “beautiful mask.”
He told Enab Baladi that the donation campaigns were organized in coordination with the governor of Quneitra and the secretary of the Baath party branch in Quneitra, Khaled Abaza, as each association set out to a different village to cover a large geographical area with fundraising operations.
The people were informed through loudspeakers in the mosques of the villages and towns of the need to participate in the campaign, in addition to invitations launched through social media.
Among the most prominent associations participating in the campaign is the “Nahdet al-Rif” association in the town of Jubata al-Khashab in the northern countryside of Quneitra and the charity “al-Khayriya” association in the town of Jaba, as well as the municipality of the city of “al-Baath” and the Baath party departments in the towns of Khan Arnabeh, al-Koum, and the southern countryside of Quneitra.
“Abu Uday,” of the southern countryside of Quneitra, owns a food store in the city. He told Enab Baladi that members of the Baath party department entered his shop a few days ago and asked him for 50,000 pounds as a donation to the areas affected by the earthquake.
He added that he had no desire to participate, but given the reality of the situation in the region, he could not simply refuse, as he was afraid that one of the party members would write a report to (the security services) that would lead him to prison.
In light of the harsh living conditions experienced by the governorates of southern Syria, some merchants and shop owners have expressed their willingness to participate in this type of campaign, but their lack of confidence in the organizing party makes the donation, in their view, a “collecting of royalties.”
Other merchants interviewed by Enab Baladi said they did not openly reject this campaign for fear of arrest or visiting the security branches.
Reasons for refusal
“Abdullah” (pseudonym for security reasons), of Jubata al-Khashab town, expressed his dissatisfaction with the Baath party’s supervision of these campaigns, pointing out that he is an opponent of the regime and cannot be involved in activities or campaigns organized by the Baath party.
“If this aid was destined for northern Syria and far from the supervision of the regime, I would have been the first to participate in it,” he added.
Meanwhile, many of the people of the region participated in these donations, including members of the Baath party and others who considered it a “duty” to help the afflicted, like the residents of other governorates.
Aid convoys from Quneitra
An aid-truck convoy carrying relief materials set off on February 11 towards the earthquake-affected governorates within the areas controlled by the Syrian regime, according to photos published by local news feeds on social media.
The “Quneitra 24” network said that, in cooperation with the Directorate of Social Affairs in Quneitra governorate, donations and contributions were collected in a campaign called “The National Campaign to Help Earthquake Victims.”
Charitable societies sent a convoy of donations from the “Ahl al-Sham Initiative Foundation” and the “Support and Empowerment of Youth and Adolescents in Quneitra” center to the affected governorates and places in Syria.
The General Authority for Radio and Television published a video recording that it said was from a solidarity stand organized by the National Union of Syrian Students (NUSS) and the Revolutionary Youth Union in Quneitra governorate, mourning the lives of those affected by the earthquake.
The Syrian National Party also organized its own fundraising campaign in Quneitra governorate, and the party’s activity, known for its closeness to the Syrian regime, focused on collecting financial donations.
The party indicated in a post on its official Facebook page that the donations, after being collected, were handed over to the mayor of the “Tajammou Shebaa,” Mohammad Bakkar, who in turn handed them over to the Relief Committee in Quneitra.
The earthquake has killed more than 5,800 people throughout Syria, including 2,274 in the northwestern region, amid a rise in the number of deaths in Turkey to more than 43,000 people.
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