Syria security forces reportedly fire live rounds at protestors, wounding 3 News
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Syria security forces reportedly fire live rounds at protestors, wounding 3

Security forces in Syria fired at anti-government protestors Wednesday in Sweida, a Druze city in the southwest of the country, according to a correspondent from news outlet Suwayda 24. The protestors were fired upon near the entrance of a local Ba’ath party building after they attempted to shut it down. Suwayda 24’s correspondent said security forces used live rounds to dispel the protestors, wounding three.

In an interview after this incident, the wounded protestors thanked Druze leader Sheikh Hikmat al-Hajari for his condemnation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s ruling Ba’ath party. The protestors expressed the unity of their community against al-Assad’s party and said the movement to remove him from power would continue to be peaceful. Anti-government protests have been growing for weeks in Sweida, which is home to many members of Syria’s Druze minority. The protestors have called for al-Assad to step down from office after a bloody civil war and an economic crisis.

Syrian state media dispute the protestors’ account that their actions were peaceful. According to al-Watan, a news publication owned by a cousin of al-Assad, official authorities had secured the area around the Ba’ath party building when they were provoked by local factions.

The live rounds on Wednesday are an escalation by security forces in a response that has thus far been restrained. Some analysts interpreted the apparent restraint of security forces up until Wednesday as an attempt to avoid a repeat of Syria’s 2011 Arab Spring protests, which ultimately led to the country’s Civil War.

Western countries have expressed their support for the protestors after this attack. Ann Snow, the UK Special Representative for Syria, said, “The regime must cease attacks on civilians and engage seriously in dialogue in line with UNSCR 2254.” This is in reference to UN Security Council Resolution 2254 from 2015, which called upon the Syrian government to begin peace talks with rebel militias.