Worry in Damascus, joy in rebel areas at Raisi’s death

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

DAMASCUS: Syrians in Damascus voiced concern on Monday at the impact on their country of the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, as some in Syria´s last main opposition bastion were celebrating.

Tehran has been a key ally for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and housewife Hazar Mazhar said “everybody is talking about the news, but I don´t know if what happened will impact us, or what the coming days will bring.”

“I´m afraid of the impact on the economy... I hope this incident doesn´t affect our livelihoods,” the 49-year-old said. People had been glued to screens since the news erupted that Raisi´s helicopter had gone missing on Sunday as he and his entourage were returning from a border meeting with Azerbaijan´s President Ilham Aliyev to inaugurate a dam.

News of the crash “was a shock”, said Nizar Jammul, 29, from a cafe in the Syrian capital. “I´ve been following the news since yesterday afternoon ... the main thing I did this morning was check until they officially announced the Iranian president´s death,” he said. The dramatic events have dominated conversations in Damascus, where flags flew at half-mast at official buildings and the government has declared three days of mourning.