Sun 23 Apr 2023 9:08 pm - Jerusalem Time

Syrians protest against the resumption of relations with Assad by Arab countries

Hundreds demonstrated Sunday in the city of Idlib, in northwestern Syria, to protest against the resumption of relations between several Arab countries and the regime of President Bashar al-Assad .

"We came to participate in the just reject normalization and the idea of normalization with this criminal, murderous regime, with this terrorist regime," Fahd Abdul Karim, 49, from the southern countryside of Aleppo, told AFP.

In turn, Abdul Salam Muhammad Youssef, director of a camp for the displaced, stated, "We came to convey a message to the whole world that with this normalization, you will win the criminal Bashar al-Assad and lose the Syrian people."

Hundreds of Syrians participated in the demonstration, some of whom were displaced from other parts of the country due to the 12-year war, according to an AFP correspondent.

Following the outbreak of protests in Syria, which soon turned into a bloody conflict in 2011, several Arab countries, led by Saudi Arabia, severed diplomatic relations with Damascus.

However, the devastating earthquake that occurred on February 6th, claiming thousands of lives in Turkey and Syria, contributed to the process of Damascus resuming its relationship with its regional surroundings, as the Syrian president received a torrent of contacts and aid from the leaders of Arab countries.

The Arab openness to Damascus coincides with the change of the political map in the region after the agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Syria's ally, to resume relations between them.

And on Tuesday, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan met the Syrian President in the first official visit by a Saudi official to Syria since the estrangement between the two countries since the start of the war, less than a week after the visit of the Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Al-Miqdad to the Kingdom.

Also this month, diplomats from nine Arab countries met in Saudi Arabia to discuss ending Syria's diplomatic isolation, while Al-Miqdad visited Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt as part of the diplomatic efforts.

"We categorically reject normalization," said protester Hanifah al-Hamoud, 22, a university student. "They all know that the regime is criminal and are trying to float it so that we accept it. This is not their business. This is the business of the revolutionaries here at home. We are the ones who decide whether we will reconcile or not."
About three million people live in Idlib, which is controlled by the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham (formerly Al-Nusra), half of whom have been displaced by the war.

The demonstrators carried several banners, one of which read, "Against all forms of normalization with the lowly criminal," and another banner wrote, "Whoever forgives and reconciles a traitorous criminal is like him."

Since 2011, Syria has been witnessing a bloody and complex conflict, which has caused the death of more than half a million people, massive destruction of infrastructure, and the displacement of more than half of the population inside and outside the country.


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Syrians protest against the resumption of relations with Assad by Arab countries