At least 17 dead in rare clashes in southern Syria

Majority Druze in Sweida remain largely untouched by bloody conflict in Syria

At least 17 people have been killed and dozens injured in Syria’s southern Sweida province in clashes between armed residents and gangs aligned with security agencies, local media and government officials said Thursday. activists.

The province’s majority Druze have remained mostly unaffected by the bloody conflict that has ravaged the rest of Syria since 2011, but sporadic gatherings are taking place in the face of deteriorating economic conditions.

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Residents are also growing frustrated with government-backed fighters carrying out arbitrary detentions, random roadblocks and kidnappings for ransom, said activist Rayan Maarouf.

According to Sweida24 Local media, led by Marrouf, said a resident’s detention over the weekend prompted others to set up informal roadblocks, arrest members of government-backed gangs and besiege their bases.

“This uprising broke out very suddenly and there were attacks on the bases of these armed groups, which are reinforced with heavy weapons,” Maarouf said. Reuters.

The resulting fighting left 17 dead according to the Sweida health directorate, quoted by the two Sweida24 and pro-government Al Watan newspaper.

The Syrian government has not commented on the violence, but Al Watan said the fighting has died down and settlement negotiations are underway.

The man abducted over the weekend has finally been released, Sweida24 reported.

Sweida saw rare protests earlier this year when dozens of people gathered in the provincial capital to demand an end to cuts in petrol subsidies.

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