State-run media disregard southern Syria protests, rallies
The southern Syrian cities of As-Suwayda and Daraa have been witnessing continuous protests and demonstrations for a week, calling for the departure of the head of the Syrian regime, Bashar al-Assad.
The Syrian regime’s media outlets ignored the spread of videos and photographs of the protests on social media.
Enab Baladi monitored the reports and news published in the three state-run newspapers, Al-Thawra, Al-Baath, and Tishreen, in addition to the official Syrian News Agency (SANA) between 15 and 23 August.
SANA did not publish any news about the protests in As-Suwayda and Daraa or about the recent voices calling for the emergence of protest movements in the cities of the Syrian coast, Assad’s main stronghold.
The state-run agency discussed, in separate news, service issues in the coastal region, As-Suwayda and Daraa.
On Tuesday, August 22, SANA quoted the Daraa Water Corporation as saying that the corporation had run a number of wells in the governorate on a trial basis before entering service.
Daraa suffers from a stifling water crisis due to the drying up of springs, surface lakes, and some drinking wells, according to Enab Baladi’s correspondent in the southern region.
SANA said on August 17 that the Russian Coordination Center in Hmeimim provided humanitarian and food aid to the people in the village of Salkhad in rural As-Suwayda, including flour, sugar, rice, and oil.
Demonstrations began in the city of As-Suwayda on August 16, calling for the departure of al-Assad, the overthrow of the regime, and the improvement of living conditions for Syrians.
The cities of Latakia and Jableh are witnessing a state of cautious calm and anticipation of upcoming protests following the arrests launched by the security services of the Syrian regime, targeting activists and people accused of affiliation with the “August 10 Movement.”
An agent in the State Security intelligence in Latakia (who spoke on condition of anonymity) told Enab Baladi on August 21 that a wave of arrests was launched by the intelligence services during the past week, amid a state of high security alert, especially after Assad’s photos were torn in Latakia and Jableh.
According to the source, the arrests included people suspected of joining the August 10 Movement, which was announced recently, and whose members circulated paper scraps calling for protests in regime-held cities.
A state of cautious anticipation prevails in Latakia governorate, whose people have been exhausted by poverty, amidst a large infusion of rumors stating that young men and women are taking action against past decisions, such as raising the price of fuel or, as the street describes it, raising subsidies, without providing any benefits to citizens with low salaries and scarcity of job opportunities.
Tishreen, Al-Baath and Al-Thawra
The government newspaper “Tishreen” did not deviate from the line followed by SANA and completely ignored the popular protests in As-Suwayda and Daraa.
It is noteworthy that the newspaper talked about encroachments on the power line feeding As-Suwayda “by thieves specialized in stealing electrical networks,” which led to a power outage in all the villages and towns of the governorate.
On Tuesday, it also published a report on the decisions of the Syrian government’s cabinet, which emphasized “handling citizens’ complaints” and increasing some financial compensation.
Al-Baath newspaper, the mouthpiece of the ruling party, and within the same period of time monitored by Enab Baladi, published two articles on Daraa, the first on August 20 and the second the following day.
The first dealt with the loss of sugar from the Daraa markets, attributing the reason to “the fluctuation of the exchange rate,” while the second dealt with the absence of water from the town of al-Taybeh in Daraa 10 years ago.
While the orientation of Al-Thawra newspaper did not differ, following “Tishreen” and “Al-Baath” newspapers.
As-Suwayda witnessed the largest demonstration of its kind in a week, calling for the overthrow of the Syrian regime and the expulsion of Iran and Russia from the Syrian territories.
Al-Rased, a local monitoring group active in social media, released video recordings of the demonstration that took place in As-Suwayda city on Wednesday, August 23, showing the protesters’ slogans calling for the overthrow of al-Assad.
In a separate post, it said that the demonstration in the city was “the largest of its kind” in the history of the As-Suwayda protests.
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