How do clerics read the scene in As-Suwayda?
The positions of the clerics in the southern governorate of As-Suwayda came, in succession, to stand in general with the demands of the street and its conservative protests that have been going on for five days in the various regions of the governorate.
A joint statement was issued on Thursday, August 24, by the sheikhs of the mind (Sheikh Akl) of the Unitarian Druze Community, Hammoud al-Hinnawi, and Youssef Jarbou, calling on the “leadership” (Bashar al-Assad) to change the government and form a new government capable of managing the crisis, improving reality, finding solutions, and not transferring responsibilities.
The statement also called for reversing the recent economic decisions and working to improve the living conditions of citizens, fighting corruption and combating the corrupt and bringing them to justice, and for the security and police institutions to be an aid for the citizen, not against him.
Among the demands included in the statement are preserving the territorial integrity of Syria, achieving national sovereignty, and re-studying the operation of a border crossing for As-Suwayda governorate to revive it economically.
Calls from the occupied territories
The spiritual head of the Druze community in the occupied Palestinian territories, Sheikh Mowaffaq Tarif, called for unity between the sheikhs of the mind and the popular and political leaders in Jabal al-Arab.
A statement published on Facebook on Thursday stated that His Eminence Sheikh Mowaffaq Tarif followed the news received from As-Suwayda regarding the protests of the Druze community to preserve their dignity and their basic rights to a decent life and their natural right to exist in the mountain within the Syrian state.
Tarif also stressed that the sect’s steadfastness in Syria necessitates the unity of the ranks, as no two disagree on the demands of the sect and its people, according to the statement, which referred to contacts of Tarif with the Druze leaders in the mountain, calling for joint action and unity.
Al-Hajri: Street demands are known
After standing by the protests, calling for their reinforcement, and speaking to the protesting street more than once, the spiritual head of the Unitarian Druze Community, Sheikh Hikmat al-Hajri, received a visit from the governor of As-Suwayda, Bassam Barsik, who came from Damascus in mediation, seeking calm, with an offer of a set of solutions, according to what was reported by the al-Rased local news network.
According to sources quoted by the network, Sheikh al-Hajri made it clear that the matter does not require mediation or contacts, stressing that the demands of the street are known.
“There is no need to explain them and that there will be no communication with anyone before the demands of the street are met,” he told the governor.
On August 19, al-Hajri issued a statement in which he affirmed the people’s right to demand a decent life and not to be satisfied with the minimum, and in it, he indicated the absence of the security authorities from As-Suwayda except to suppress the word and direct its Baathist cronies according to its orders against their families.
The statement stated that there are “families dying by drowning or in the wilderness in search of a livelihood, in precedents of humiliation that the Syrian people have not known throughout history.”
Al-Hajri also added, “Where are the friendly countries? Where are the guarantor states?” Demanding that all those who deprive the people of their rights and all those who destroy the structure and economy of society and plunder its wealth be held accountable.
People have the right to cry out and seek help, people have the right to stop an act that has become humiliating for them, and it is shameful to see this destruction and remain silent.
Let those who assume a leadership position have some shame when they are incapacitated and negligent.
The spiritual head of the Unitarian Druze Community, Hikmat Salman al-Hajri
Al-Hinnawi: We do not remain silent about grievances
The sheikh of Akl of the Druze community, Hammoud al-Hinnawi, also participated in a protest in the town of al-Qrayya, south of As-Suwayda in the past few days.
Al-Hinnawi said during a speech he delivered before the protesters, “We do not remain silent over grievances, nor do we accept humiliation, for our dignity is our life,” according to what Suwayda 24 network reported.
He considered that the demands of the demonstrators are a right of everyone and that As-Suwayda is a city of limited income, which has been subjected to years of leanness and years of thirst.
Al-Hajri and al-Hinnawi stressed the need to preserve public and private facilities, stressing that As-Suwayda is a tongue of right for the Syrian people as a whole and the need not to be drawn into sedition in the demonstrations that have been going on for five consecutive days.
On Thursday, the protesters renewed the closure of roads and government institutions as a continuation of the strike, in addition to protests in various villages and regions, including the village of Resala, east of As-Suwayda, the town of al-Qrayya, in the south of the governorate, and the town of Arman, southeast of As-Suwayda.
On Thursday morning, the sheikhs of Salkhad participated in a protest in the town square, and there was a protest in the village of Mardak, north of As-Suwayda, and another in al-Karama Square in the city center.
US, Germany comments
During her speech at the Security Council session on Wednesday, August 23, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas Greenfield, said, “In recent days, we have witnessed peaceful protests in cities such as Daraa and As-Suwayda, where the Syrians called for political changes and demanded that all parties respect Resolution (2254), this is the areas where the revolution began, and it is clear that the peaceful demands were not responded to.”
The German envoy to Syria, Stefan Schneck, also praised the courage of the people of As-Suwayda and Daraa, who are calling for justice, freedom and citizenship.
“We stand with those calling for peaceful dialogue, the release of detainees, and the fulfillment of their legitimate aspirations,” Schneck said on the “X” (formerly Twitter). “Every citizen deserves to have a voice and the right to live in dignity.” He called on the Syrian regime to refrain from violence against peaceful protests.
“We want to live”
The protests in As-Suwayda coincided with others in separate areas of the neighboring governorate of Daraa, and they are still continuing in parallel with its neighbor As-Suwayda, whose demonstrations are taking place in the presence of women, and with the participation of Arab tribes in the governorate.
On August 16, activists on social media launched calls for a general strike throughout the Syrian governorates in protest against the living conditions of the residents.
Protests are not new to the southern region after the settlements of 2018, as the people of As-Suwayda and Daraa previously staged demonstrations at separate times, the most prominent of which was in 2020 under the slogan “We want to live.”
They called for the overthrow of the Syrian regime, blaming it for the living and security conditions in Syria, but the current movement bears a different character, as it is associated with a state of popular anger and raising the ceiling of criticism of the regime in the Syrian coastal region, amid calls for the expansion of protests and the joining of other provinces, as happened in 2011, when the revolution began.
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