Lebanese Druze leader slams Israeli-Syrian 'conspiracy'

Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt accuses Syria and Israel of conspiracy against Druze minority, after Druze reportedly attacked Israeli ambulance carrying Syrian opposition fighters

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Walid Jumblatt, the leader of the influential Druze minority in Lebanon, on Tuesday through his Twitter account accused Israel and Syria of a mutual conspiracy to cause fighting between the Druze and Sunni Muslims.

Jumblatt, a Lebanese politician and current leader of Lebanon’s mostly Druze Progressive Socialist Party, is known for his hostile attitude towards Syrian President Bashar al Assad. However, the Druze in Syria have stayed loyal to Syrian President Bashar al Assad throughout the Syrian civil war, some of them have being recruited into pro-Assad militias.  

Jumblatt said on Twitter that some of the pro-Assad Druze are being used by the Syrian regime in a plan to trap the Druze in a war with Sunnis in Syria’s southern Horan region.

”The Druze ‘Dera’ al Watan’ [country’s shield],  a pro-Assad gang, earlier captured three tribesmen and killed them after torturing them,” he said.

“Members of these gangs are Assad-loyalists,” Jumblatt added.

“Earlier some of Assad’s senior security officials came to the southern city of Sweida in order to incite the Druze against the rebels.”

“This is the Syrian regime’s mission - Incitement and conspiracy,” Jumblatt warned according to the Lebanese anti-Assad al Nahar News Site.

Jumblatt’s statements came after a group of people on Monday attacked an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) ambulance passing through a Druze village in the Golan Heights and killed one of the two Syrian fighters being transported to Israeli hospitals for treatment.

Israeli media including Haaretz and the Jerusalem Post reported that Druze villagers attacked the ambulance with rocks and stopped it. They pulled out the two fighters inside the ambulance and beat them, killing one and critically injuring the other.

Two Israeli soldiers were also wounded in the attack and many police and military forces were sent to the village afterwards.

It is the second attack on an IDF ambulance believed to be carrying injured fighters as another ambulance was also stopped in the Druze town of Hurfeish.

The attacks came shortly after claims spread that Israel was giving medical treatment to Syrian opposition fighters including Al Qaeda affiliated Nusra Front members.

“In the past two years Israeli Defense Forces have been engaged in humanitarian, life-saving aid to wounded Syrians, irrespective of their identity,” IDF said in a statement following the claims.

Following a dispute with the locals, Nusra Front fighters killed 20 members from the Druze community in the village of Qalb Lawzah in  Syria's northwest Idlib province earlier in June.

"This village and its people are still safe under our protection and in areas under our control. Everyone who was involved in this incident will be referred to an Islamic court and will be held accountable," Nusra Front officials said following the incident.

Druze are an ethnic minority mostly living in Syria, Israel and Lebanon. They are concentrated in the south of Syria in particular, though there are some Druze villages spread around the rest of the country.

TRTWorld and agencies