Despite the growing acceptance of the Syrian government on the regional level, most notably with the readmission of Syria into the Arab League, the economic situation has continued to deteriorate with the Syrian pound hitting record low-values. The deterioration is likely a combination of extensive Western sanctions on Syria, exhaustion through years of war, the fact that some areas with key resource assets remain beyond government control, and the government's own policies.
The government seems to have few if any solutions to these difficult problems, and there is ever growing discontent in government-held areas with the decline in the economy and living standards. This disillusionment is manifesting itself openly in the form of renewed protests in the southern provinces of al-Suwayda' (primarily Druze population) and Deraa (primarily Sunni Arab).
Demonstration on the evening of 23 August 2023 in the al-Suwayda' village of al-Qurayya at the site of the tomb of Sultan Pasha al-Atrash, leader of the Great Syrian Revolution against the French occupation.
The protests in al-Suwayda' seem particularly notable despite the fact that there have been previous rounds of protests in the province against the economic and livelihood situation. The protests in al-Suwayda' now seem to enjoy more popular support than ever before.
Among those professing support for the protests is Abu Amir Osama 'Albi, leader of the Faz'at Fakhr Faction. Abu Amir provided me an extended statement on the position of him and his group regarding the new round of demonstrations. I produce it in translation below. It is a representative example of how even many of those who have stood with the Syrian government against the insurgents during the war are calling for major internal change, to the point of calling on the government to resign.
The Faz'at Fakhr Faction's position on the recent events.
The position of the Faz'at Fakhr Faction led by Abu Amir Osama 'Albi has been steadfast since its establishment and regularised, and it has an official page documenting its activity in the province.
As a result of the recent events, we have coordinated with a number of the noble factions who have been concerned about the security and safety of the homeland.
Unity exists among the sons of the Syrian Arab people, but the points of disagreement with the Syrian government are many and important. The first of these points is the government's lack of attention to the most basic needs of the people. Hunger is not the cause of the uprising but rather ignoring the hungry one causes popular frustration, and we do not demand luxury but rather we demand to live with dignity and to live under the roof of the homeland with security and not displacement, physical, psychological and political persecution.
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