Druze leader killed in car blast in Syria

One of most prominent political and religious leaders of Druze community killed in Syria

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Representational image

According to UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, one of the most prominent political and religious leaders of the Druze minority of Syria, Sheik Wahid al Balous, who is an opponent of the Bashar al  Assad regime, has been killed by a car bomb blast in Suewida, southwestern Syria.

The Syrian Observatory said that, a seperate blast occuring around the same time Balous was killed among eight people wounded several others.

Rami Abdel Rahman, head of Syrian Observatory said that, "Sheikh Wahid al-Balous was killed in a car-bomb attack as he was driving on the outskirts of Suweida city."

Syrian state television also confirmed the attacks killing eight people. However, state media did not make mention of Balous who is a very popular leader in Suweida.

After the attack, dozens of people filled the streets and protested outside the government buildings, setting cars fire and destroying a statue in town of former president Hafez al Assad.

A journalist from Suweida, Malek Abu Kheir, said that Sheik was raising his voice against both Assad regime and armed groups.

"Balous was the leader of the Sheikhs of Dignity group, which aimed to protect the Druze areas in Syria." 

The Druze, who follow secretive branch of Shia Islam, have been divided during Syrian civil war. Whilst some of Druze fighting on behalf of the Assad regime, the others expressing sympathy for the opposition.

TRTWorld and agencies