Sweida residents accuse Syrian regime of kidnapping local activist

By Waleed Abu al-Khair in Cairo


The abduction of Sweida activist Muhannad Shihab Eddin on June 17th has spurred tension in the city. [Photo circulated on social media]

Armed factions affiliated with local groups in the southern Syrian city of Sweida on Monday (July 17th) detained 10 regime security forces to pressure the regime to release a kidnapped local opposition activist.

They also surrounded the Syrian regime's military intelligence headquarters and exchanged gunfire with regime forces barricaded inside, said Sweida activist Nizar Bou Ali.

Two regime soldiers were wounded in the clashes, he told Diyaruna.

Armed men in a van with tinted windows on Sunday kidnapped Sweida activist Muhannad Shihab Eddin in front of his shop. Residents and local factions accused the Syrian military intelligence of carrying out the attack.

Tension has been running high in the city following the kidnapping and power was cut off in areas where regime military and security units are stationed, Bou Ali said.

"Local factions detained 10 members of the [Syrian] military intelligence and seized three vehicles, taking them to an unknown location," he added.

The factions have since lifted the siege on the military intelligence headquarters after giving the regime 24 hours to release Shihab Eddin, but they remain deployed in the city, according to Bou Ali.

Regime forces have brought in reinforcements to the area, he added.

Sweida has been the site of ongoing tension between residents and the regime, because area youth are not reporting for their military duty with regime forces and are opting instead to join a local armed group.

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