Druze traditional costume during pro-Assad campaign.. Outrage in As-Suwayda



ARA News

Urfa, Turkey – Chieftaincy of the Druze community in the Syrian southern city of As-Suwayda demanded the “overthrow” of the head of the Military Security Branch in the city, Wafiq Nassir, for detaining the Druze chieftain, Sheikh Lawrence Salam, on the background of preventing regime supporters to use the Druze traditional costume in campaigning for the candidacy of Bashar al-Assad for the presidential elections in June.

“Sheikh Salam was released hours after detention, but the outrage among the Druze community continues,” said Ayman Shalhoob, a resident of As-Suwayda.

According to Shalhoob, the incident of arresting Sheikh Lawrence Salam resulted in the defection of 30 members of the pro-regime National Defence with their weapons, to join then the chieftaincy in their demand to overthrow the head of the security branch.

“The chieftaincy held a meeting and headed afterwards together with crowds of protesters to the house of Sheikh al-Hanawi, supreme chief of Druze community in the area,” Shalhoob said.

The city of As-Suwayda saw a movement of protests led by the community chieftains in the city and its environs on Tuesday, on the background of Sheikh Lawrence Salam’s arrest −who tried to prevent regime supporters from using the Druze traditional costume during the pro-Assad campaign in the city.  

“During a presidential campaign for President Bashar al-Assad last week, a woman was wearing the Druze traditional costume and was dancing in Sultan Basha al-Attrash Square in the city, holding a portrait of Assad. This provoked members of the community and the chieftains who attacked the supporters and tore down portraits of the Syrian president which led to the detention of Sheikh Lawrence,” Shalhoob told ARA News.  

Meanwhile, local sources reported that a group of lawyers staged a sit-in on Thursday in As-Suwayda city demanding an immediate release of their fellow lawyer Tarotti Qaysiya, who was detained three days earlier by the Syrian security.  

Noteworthy, the city of As-Suwayda saw limited protests at the beginning of the Syrian popular uprising in 2011, in addition to staging sit-ins by lawyers. Several local activists in the city and its countryside were arrested, and some quarrels between pro- and anti-regime members of Druze community were reported.


Reporting by: Ridwan Bizar

Source: ARA News


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