Syrian government releases detainees with Russian mediation in Syria’s Suwayda

SUWAYDA, Syria (North Press) – A local source from the city of Suwayda in southern Syria said that on Thursday night, Syrian government forces released activists from the city who were arrested following anti-government protests in June.

A source from the Men of Dignity movement in Suwayda, who preferred not to be named, told North Press that “Syrian government security services released eight detainees on Thursday night and handed them over to the Muslimah checkpoint of the Men of Dignity, south of the capital Damascus.”

The Men of Dignity is a self-defense militia established after the outbreak of the Syrian war to defend the Suwayda area. Described as a terror organization by Russia, it took an initial position against the Syrian government in the early days of the war but did not engage in any armed struggle with government forces.

The source said that “the release of the detainees came through Russian mediation, after demands that the Syrian government to release the remaining eight detainees a few days ago."

In mid-June, the Syrian government released a number of activists participating in protests against Syrian President Bashar Assad, after a meeting with elders of the Mashayekh al-Aqil in the House of the Unitarian (al-Muwaḥḥidūn) Druze sect in Suwayda.

In early June, protests broke out in Suwayda against the Syrian government, demanding the departure of Syrian President Bashar Assad and his Russian and Iranian allies as well as Lebanese Hezbollah, after the deterioration of living conditions due to the collapse of the Syrian pound and the rise in prices.

Suwayda is the center of Syria's Druze minority, an ethnoreligious group concentrated mostly in the country's south which speaks Arabic and follows a monotheistic religion.