Middle East Transparent reports that Syrian State Security has summoned a number of the signatories of the Suwayda petition in solidarity with the intellectuals who signed the Beirut-Damascus Declaration (Arabic. ME Transparent, 6/1/06). The criminal division then summoned all of the signatories in the Suwayda district (southwestern Syria) to appear for questioning on June 1.
ME Transparent received the news from a local source in Suwayda who speculated that the reason behind the summons was to pressure the signatories to withdraw their signatures under the threat of arrest.
The petition was signed by 91 intellectuals and activists from the Suwayda district on May 23. It condemned the arrest of the signatories to the Beirut-Damascus Declaration (BDD) and called on "all the forces of freedom and democracy in the world to stand in solidarity in order to stop the ongoing campaigns of arrest against democratic activists, and in order to immediately set free all prisoners of opinion."
The petition also expressed support for the BDD saying it was in service of the interests of both the Syrian and the Lebanese people (Arabic. ME Transparent, 5/25/06). However, ME Transparent notes that 6 of the Suwayda activists said they only signed in order to condemn the arrests, not to support the BDD.
The state-run newspapers have repeatedly decried the BDD as hostile to Syria and condemned its signatories for both the content of the document as well as its timing. The Declaration coincided with UN Security Council resolution 1680 that pressured Syria on fully recognizing Lebanese sovereignty and independence through demarcating the common border and exchanging diplomatic representation (Arabic. ME Transparent, 5/11/06). Both these points were also raised in the BDD.