Videos and photos were circulated on social media showing officials of the Assad regime unveiling a statue of Hafez al-Assad in the city of Deir Ezzor against a background of piles of rubble of buildings that were destroyed by the Assad regime forces over the past several years.
Local activists expressed outrage at the Assad regime’s re-erection of the statue on the ruins of the city, noting that the move made people of the city “live new chapters of bitterness.”
The move was also met with widespread criticism and ridicule by local news networks. Biladi news network wrote: “The Assad regime claimed to start reconstruction. It began with the re-erection of a huge statue of Hafez al-Assad in Deir Ezzor.” The Syrian Press Center expressed its indignation at the move and wrote sarcastically: “The re-erection of a statue of Hafez al-Assad; the first steps of reconstruction in Deir Ezzor!”
Syrian dissident activists said that the move was “a message from the Assad regime to residents of the city indicating its tightening of its grip on the city.”
Last Tuesday, a number of ministers of the Assad regime, army, intelligence and police officers officially unveiled the monument, according to local residents and various Syrian and social media websites.
In the early days of the Syrian revolution, demonstrators in Deir Ezzor tore down statue of Basil Hafez al-Assad in the public square on April 22, 2011. They also tried to smash statue of Hafez near the Saba Bahrat Roundabout but were met with brutal response by regime forces who opened fire on the demonstrators, wounding dozens. The incident prompted the regime to remove the statue on June 7, 2011 to keep it away from the hands of demonstrators. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)