23 May 2024,   15:49
Two dead as protesters, police clash in southern Syria

A protester and a policeman were killed Sunday in Syria’s southern city of Sweida as security forces cracked down on a rare demonstration by hundreds against deteriorating living conditions.

Tensions were high in the regime-held city after protesters threw rocks at a government building and stormed it, removing a large picture of President Bashar al-Assad from its facade, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

“At least one protester and one police officer were killed”, - Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

The protester was shot dead when security forces opened fire after demonstrators entered the building, he said, adding that Government forces have fanned out in the city, dispersing protesters.

The Sweida region south of Damascus is the heartland of the Druze, who made up less than 3%Syria’s pre-war population and have largely kept out of the country’s civil war. That war has killed nearly half a million people since it began in 2011fragmenting the country and causing economic collapse.