16 June 2015
Syrian Druze have become the next potential flashpoint in a proxy war between Saudi Arabia, Iran and Israel that is exacerbating the Middle East’s multiple conflicts. With rebel forces advancing towards the mountainous Druze stronghold in north-western Syria, this month’s killing by Jabhat Al-Nusra jihadists of 23 members of a Druze clan in Idlib province set off alarm bells in Damascus, Jerusalem and Riyadh as well as in Druze communities in Israel, Syria and Lebanon.
The killings occurred, according to the Syrian Observatory, a British-based monitoring group, after a Tunisian Al-Nusra commander tried to confiscate a house belonging to a Druze who allegedly was loyal to the Syrian government. Jabhat Al-Nusra apologised for the incident, saying in a statement that the killings had not been authorised by the group.
As Al-Nusra-led forces advanced on Jebel Druze, home to 450,000 of Syria’s 600,000 Druze, regional concern was fuelled by the political fallout of a potential massacre and the region’s strategic position close to the Turkish border, 22 km from embattled Aleppo, Syria’s largest, war-ravaged city; 40 km from Jordan; and some 80 km from Israel. The Druze redoubt is also threatened on its eastern flank by forces of Islamic State”, an Al-Nusra rival.
… James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and co-director of the Institute of Fan Culture of the University of Würzburg.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 17/06/2015