Maaret al-Noomane (Syria) (AFP) – Several thousand people demonstrated Friday in several cities of the Syrian province of Idleb (north-west), the country’s last major insurgent stronghold, calling for the release of detainees in the regime’s prisons, AFP correspondents found.
Out in the streets after the Friday prayer, protesters chanted anti-regime slogans, some waving flags of the Syrian revolutions and Turkey, supporting the rebellion.
On signs and banners, could read in English: “Our revolution will not stop before the release of all the prisoners”.
In a country devastated by the war since 2011, tens of thousands of people would be in the custody of the Damascus regime, human rights organizations denouncing the torture and abuse they suffer.
“We baptized this Friday the” Friday prisoners “to send a message to the world: our freedom will be complete with the release of detainees who are in the prisons of the regime,” said AFP Ezzedine al-Idlebi, one of the organizers of the rally in the city of Maaret al-Noomane.
For several weeks, Idleb was the scene of protests denouncing the threats of the regime of Bashar al-Assad to launch an offensive in the province, dominated by jihadists.
But an agreement reached in extremis on September 17 by Ankara and Moscow, ally of the regime, allowed to distance the prospect of a military operation.
In the procession of Maaret al-Noomane, in which women dressed in black took part, Abu Hassan carried on his shoulders his niece dressed in a blue dress and waving the portrait of her father, kidnapped five years ago.
“We joined this peaceful demonstration to demand the release of detainees (…) basements of intelligence services,” he said.
Gatherings took place in other localities of Idleb, as well as in the rebel territories of the neighboring province of Aleppo.
“The detainees are our cause … We call on the international community to put pressure on the regime to release them,” Mayssa Mahmoud, a protester in the town of Attareb, told AFP.
Triggered in 2011 by the repression of pro-democracy protests by the regime, the conflict in Syria has left more than 360,000 dead and millions of displaced and refugees.