Iraq: Syrian refugees closely follow protests against Bashar al-Assad's regime

In Syria, an anti-regime demonstration was shot at with live ammunition. Rallies are held daily in the southern Druze city of Sweida to protest the extremely expensive life. This is the first time since the abortive uprising of 2011 that a mobilization has been violently repressed. In Iraq, several hundred thousand Syrian Arabs have taken refuge there since the civil war.

Demonstrators wave flags and placards in the streets of Sweida, Syria, to protest against Bashar al-Assad, September 15, 2023. AP

By: RFI Follow


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With our correspondent in Erbil, Théo Renaudon

In southern Syria, the protest movement against the regime is now entering its fourth week. Protesters have since denounced the high cost of living in this Druze-majority region, bordering Jordan. In Iraq, the slogans of the Sweida rallies ring in the ears of Samir, a Syrian from the city who is following the situation very closely: "These are peaceful demonstrations. No one carries weapons and no one attacks anyone. People go out for their rights. They want nothing more than to be able to feed themselves properly.


Bassem, also from Sweida, supports the protests, but doubts that other cities will join them: "I think the other governorates that participated in the Arab Spring protests have tasted too much blood, destruction and death. I expect they won't get up. Yet they should, precisely because there was much destruction and many victims in their demonstrations at the time.


The twelve-year Syrian civil war has left more than 400,000 dead and 4 million refugees.

The first names of the interviewees have been changed.

" READ ALSO Syria: the awakening of the protest

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  • Syria
  • Bashar al-Assad
  • Economic crisis