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Hundreds of Syrians protested in the country’s southern regions this week, the latest expression of defiance against the autocratic government of President Bashar Assad amid a worsening economic crisis, Al-Monitor reported.

Protesters marched in the southern city of Suwayda and the surrounding areas to demonstrate against the poor living conditions in the country. Crowds chanted slogans calling for Assad’s removal, while human rights groups reported the distribution of anti-government leaflets in other parts of the country.

Syria is experiencing economic hardships caused by more than 10 years of civil war, Western sanctions against Assad’s regime, and the February earthquake that struck the country’s northwestern regions.

Last week, the national currency fell to a new all-time low of 15,000 Syrian pounds to the dollar and inflation remains high.

Although Assad has retained control of most of the country with the help of Russia and Iran, rebels still have a hold in Syria’s northern areas.

Demonstrations in government-controlled territories have been relatively rare in recent years.

Suwayda was never taken by rebel forces and the Syrian government has historically had a degree of support in the area. Still, the city did experience anti-government protests in 2020 and 2022.

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