Opposition Leader Al-Matni Released Amid Assad Regime Force Buildup

Credit: (Suwayda 24/Social Media)

Raed Al-Matni, a prominent opposition leader in Suwayda, was released from the Special Care Hospital and returned home Saturday evening after undergoing medical examinations. His release followed a tense 48-hour period marked by his mysterious disappearance under suspicious circumstances and subsequent reappearance, which has escalated tensions in the region.

Local factions in Suwayda had previously detained three regime officers and a State Security sergeant in response to Al-Matni’s disappearance. These officers were later handed over to Al-Matni’s family, who released them on the directives of Hikmat Al-Hijri, a high-ranking Druze religious leader. The sergeant had remained in the family’s custody, and the involvement of security services in Al-Matni’s disappearance remains unclear, raising suspicions about the regime’s role.

Medical sources have confirmed that Al-Matni is in good physical health, showing no signs of beating or torture, though his psychological condition is reportedly poor. Al-Matni has not yet made any public statements regarding his disappearance.

In response to these events, the Assad regime has bolstered its military presence in Suwayda. Early this morning, regime forces established a security checkpoint at the northern entrance to the city, near the Al-Anqoud roundabout and the Air Force Intelligence Detachment. This move comes amid ongoing popular movements against Bashar al-Assad in the governorate.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing large buses carrying prefabricated rooms and armed security personnel at the checkpoint site. Operations to reinforce the checkpoint are ongoing, though no cars have been stopped or interactions with passers-by observed.

Preparations for this security buildup began in early June, with local sources noting the establishment of earthen berms around the checkpoint area. These efforts are believed to be aimed at creating a permanent security barrier.

In May, the Assad regime sent substantial military reinforcements to Suwayda, including tanks, armored vehicles, and buses filled with troops. These forces have been distributed to various military and security installations across the governorate. The regime has remained silent about the purpose of these reinforcements, though some speculate they could be a prelude to escalating measures against the anti-regime movement. However, Fawzat Shuqair, the Baath Party branch secretary in Suwayda, has claimed these reinforcements are not intended to suppress the popular uprising.

As tensions continue to rise in Suwayda, the situation remains fluid, with local and regime forces on high alert. The coming days are likely to be critical in determining the direction of the conflict in this restive southern region of Syria.


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