Syrians gather to commemorate ‘revolutionary icon’ Sarout

Hundreds of Syrians gather in Idlib to commemorate ‘revolutionary icon’ Abdel Basset Sarout
2 min read
09 June, 2021
Hundreds of Syrians gathered in the city of Idlib to commemorate the second anniversary of the death of Abdel Basset Sarout, a footballer who joined protests against the Assad regime in 2011.
Residents of Idlib and refugees gathered to commemorate Abdel Basset Sarout [AFP]

Hundreds of Syrians took to the streets of Idlib city on Tuesday to commemorate the second anniversary of the death of Abdel Basset Sarout, a famous goalkeeper from the city of Homs who became an icon of the uprising which broke out against President Bashar al-Assad's authoritarian rule in 2011.

Residents and displaced people in Idlib city, which gives it name to the surrounding province in northwestern Syria, gathered at the steps of the city's public park.

They raised banners praising Sarout and promised to uphold the principles of the Syrian uprising, which started after similar revolutions in other Arab countries and called for freedom, dignity, and democracy after decades of authoritarian rule in Syria.

"Today we remember the goalkeeper of the revolution who was its singer and symbol and who defended it with all dedication and faith, during its peaceful campaign and its armed struggle," Ibrahim Abboud, a Syrian activist, told The New Arab's Arabic-language service.

In the early days of the Syrian uprising in 2011, Sarout sang at peaceful protests calling for freedom and the removal of Assad's regime. He became known among protesters as "the guardian of freedom" – in reference to his career as a goalkeeper.

Following the brutal suppression of the protests by the Assad regime, Sarout took up arms along with thousands of other Syrians.

He later starred in the 2013 documentary "Return to Homs" which chronicled his activism and the siege and destruction of large swathes of the central Syrian city by the regime.

After Homs fell to regime forces in 2014, Sarout and other fighters were evacuated to Idlib province, which is currently the last area of Syria held by anti-Assad rebels.

He was killed on June 8 2019 in Idlib while fighting with the Jaysh al-Izza rebel group against regime forces who were engaged in a long-running assault on the area, at the age of 27.

Suheil Hammoud, a rebel fighter, told The New Arab's Arabic service that the anniversary of Sarout’s death would "live on for ever as the anniversary of the loss of an icon of the Syrian revolution".