Thousands of Syrians have demonstrated around the country in opposition to several Arab countries normalizing relations with President Bashar al-Assad’s government and the country’s re-admission to the Arab League.
The protests on Friday coincided with al-Assad’s attendance at the Arab League meeting in Saudi Arabia, which marked the Syrian president’s comeback to the summit after a 12-year absence.
Thousands of people demonstrated in Idlib, al-Bab, Azaz, Jarabulus, and Afrin, among other cities, under the banner “Criminal al-Assad Never Represents Syria.”
Outside of Syria, protests were held in six cities: Vienna, Amsterdam, London, Vaile, Stockholm, and Lyon.
Hundreds of people took part in the protests in Idlib, a rebel-held city in northwest Syria.
“We demonstrated today to remind those who are seeking to normalise their relations with the al-Assad regime that the Great Syrian Revolution started spontaneously as a response to the internal suffocation we endured under the Assad regime,” Ibrahim Aboud, one of the participants in the demonstration and a displaced civilian from Maarat al-Numan in northern Idlib, told Al Jazeera.
“When we first protested in 2011, we didn’t ask permission from anyone, and we didn’t take into considering the regional and international environment surrounding Syria.”
Aboud stated that he could not support any move by Arab countries, whether political, diplomatic, military, or economic, given that the government has killed, displaced, and imprisoned millions of Syrians for the past 12 years.