Secret Deal Between Turkey And U.S. Will Sell Out The Kurds

Analysis

Last week, Western Journalism reported that Islamic State had succeeded in drawing Turkey into the Syrian war after a suicide attack by a Turkish terrorist affiliated with ISIS killed 32 young Kurds in the border town of Suruc in Turkey.

Turkey responded to the attack by launching airstrikes on ISIS positions in Syria. This happened a day after a telephone conversation between President Obama and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in which the latter agreed, for the first time, to allow the US-led coalition against ISIS to use a Turkish air force base for strikes against Islamic State.

Shortly after Turkey entered the battle against Islamic State, it became clear that the government in Ankara had another reason to interfere in Syria and Iraq. Turkish airplanes attacked Kurdish positions in northern Iraq, and the Syrian Kurdish militia YPG reported on Monday that Turkey had shelled their positions in the border area.

Turkish media revealed at the same time details of a deal between the Obama administration and the AKP-dominated government in Ankara and reported a conflicting narrative of why Turkey intervened in Syria and Iraq.

A Syrian journalist reported that US administration officials contacted the Turkish government last month after the Turkish army amassed forces along the Syrian border. This happened after the Kurdish YPG militia conquered vast territories in northeast Syria and seized the strategic border town Tal Abyad in Syria.

Erdogan and Turkish Prime Minister Davutoglu vehemently oppose the establishment of a Kurdish autonomous area or an independent Kurdish state along the Turkish border because they fear it will lead to increasing separatism among its own six million-strong Kurdish minority.

The Turks told Administration officials that they had drawn a red line from Aleppo to Kobani and that they would not allow more Kurdish advances along the border. The Americans were receptive to this message and saw an opportunity to finally enlist Turkey as a member of the anti-ISIS coalition. Negotiations started; and after a month, a deal was reportedly closed.

The US Air Force could use the Incirlik air force base in Turkey but had to allow Turkish oversight of the targets it would strike in Syria and Iraq from Incirlik. This means that strikes that would help the YPG seize more territory along the Turkish border would be vetoed, according to the Turkish outlet Today’s Zaman.

In return, the U.S. would cooperate with Turkey to establish a so-called ISIS free buffer zone in the north of Syria. Officially, the Turkish government says that it wants this buffer zone to keep ISIS away from its border and to relocate the one and a half million Syrian refugees in Turkey. The Syrian Kurds, however, think that Erdogan and Davutlogu want to drive a wedge between the three Kurdish cantons in Syria–and by doing so want to prevent the establishment of a Kurdish autonomous area in Syria, Reuters reported.

The U.S. administration denies that it is collaborating with Turkey to create a buffer zone based on the Turkish model, Bloomberg reported.

“We’re not out there staking out zones and doing some things that I know have been discussed in years past — no-fly zones, safe zones. What we’re trying to do is clear ISIL,” a senior administration official said. “I think it’s important not to confuse that with staking out these zones that you can identify with road signs and on big maps, and that’s just not what’s happening.”

“On Monday, a White House official told an audience in a closed-door meeting at the Middle East Institute in Washington the same thing about there being no safe zone inside Syria, according to two people who were inside the meeting. The Obama administration is sending a delegation back to Turkey next week to work on exactly what the new cooperation along the northern Syria border will look like, the official said,” according to Bloomberg.

The Turkish government, however, insists that a buffer zone will be created; so it’s hard to see how the U.S. Administration will prevent Turkey from doing so. Besides, the Obama official Bloomberg quoted said the U.S. is “trying to clear ISIL”; so in the end, the territory will be free of ISIS if everything goes well.

There is more.

Some Turkish media and the outlawed Kurdish Workers Party PKK say that Turkish intelligence and security forces might have been complicit in the Suruc suicide attack. They point to the fact that shortly before the blast, PKK activists were banned from entering the building where the attack took place while the terrorist got through security control.

This might sound far-fetched; but this past weekend, the British paper The Guardian delivered new evidence that the Turkish government has given support to Islamic State in an attempt to overthrow the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

An anonymous Western official told The Guardian that when US Special Forces raided the compound of ISIS commandant Abu Sayyaf in Syria in May, they found proof of an oil trade between ISIS and Turkey worth tens of millions of dollars per year.

“There are hundreds of flash drives and documents that were seized there. They are being analyzed at the moment, but the links are so clear that they could end up having profound implications for the relationship between us and Ankara,” the Western official Told the Guardian.

As Western Journalism reported last week, the Turkish Intelligence Service MIT has been delivering weapons and ammunition to Islamic State as well.

The Turkish government has clearly used Islamic State to get rid of the Assad regime but has apparently come to the conclusion that direct intervention in Syria has become necessary because of Kurdish national aspirations and because of the overall situation in the country. It has become clear that Syria as we know it has ceased to exist, and Erdogan wants to be in the position to determine the future of the areas that border Turkey. So the Turkish government has clear goals and acts accordingly.

The same cannot be said of the U.S. administration, thinks military affairs analyst Jennifer Dyer.

She wrote that the U.S. military does not understand the new partnership with Turkey because there are no territorial or operational objectives–and there are no clear directives on the use of military power. She recalled how another U.S. operation to improve the situation in Syria without clear objectives became a huge failure. Dyer was referring to the training of a new local ground force that was supposed to turn the tide in the never-ending war. Nine months after the announcement of this plan, only sixty fighters have been recruited and trained. Basically, the U.S. is in this partnership for the convenience of Turkey, she concluded.

Some analysts say that there is another conclusion that can be drawn. By entering into a partnership with Turkey at a time when Kurdish forces were the only ones who succeeded in driving Islamic State out of territories in Iraq and Syria, the Obama administration seems to be selling out the Kurds.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Breaking: Islamic State Succeeds In Drawing Turkey Into Escalating Syrian War

The situation in Syria is becoming more complicated and dangerous by the day.

On Monday, Islamic State launched a suicide attack in the Turkish border town Suruc, killing 32 people. A Turkish ISIS terrorist blew himself up amongst a group of young people who were waiting to cross the border to help the Kurds in rebuilding the city of Kobani that was seized from ISIS by the Kurdish militia YPG after a long battle earlier this year. It marked the first time ISIS staged a suicide attack in Turkey.

Today, tensions on the Syrian-Turkish border further escalated after a Turkish soldier was killed by fire from an area controlled by Islamic State. Suleyman Tapsiz, the governor for Turkey’s Kilis province, reported that an army border outpost was attacked by Islamic State.

Turkish tanks responded by shelling ISIS positions across the border, killing an ISIS terrorist, and the Turkish air force scrambled jets to the Syrian border.

The Turkish government decided on Tuesday to erect a concrete wall on the border with Syria and to reinforce wire fencing. Turkish media later reported that the measures taken by the government include the sending of zeppelins to monitor the border and an increase of border patrols.

Turkish media also reported that Ankara had finally given permission to the U.S. air force to use the large Incirlik air base in the campaign against Islamic State. The permission came after a telephone conversation between President Obama and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan had always refused to join the U.S. led coalition against Islamic State.

His opponents accuse him of tacit support for the Jihadist group. In May, Reuters reported that the Turkish Secret Service, MIT, accompanied arms transports to ISIS. The news agency based its report on testimonies from Turkish gendarmerie officers and state persecutors.

Pundits say that Erdogan will use Turkish intervention in Syria not to fight ISIS, but to prevent the YPG from establishing a Kurdish state along the Turkish border.

Meanwhile in northwestern Syria, Hezbollah and the National Defense Force (remnants of President Bashar Assad’s army, Iranian Al Quds units, and Shiite militias) launched an offensive to drive Islamist rebels of the ‘Army of Conquest’ out of the strategic city of Zabadani.

Zabadani lies 30 miles northwest of Damascus and is crucial to the consolidation of the regime’s control over the border with Lebanon.

The UN envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, said that Assad’s air force dropped a large number of barrel bombs on Zabadani, “causing unprecedented levels of destruction and many deaths among the civilian population.”

Heavy fighting continued into the night in the area of Zabadani, and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported heavy aerial bombardments in and round the city. The group also reported casualties on both sides as well as widespread destruction.

Syrian state television reported the National Defense Force had destroyed a 77-yard-long tunnel used by the insurgents to transport weapons and equipment into Zabadani. The Army of Conquest retaliated by launching rockets and mortar grenades into the area of Idlib in northern Syria, Mistura reported.

The news about the offensive coincides with reports that Iran has increased its support to Assad after the signing of the nuclear deal with six world powers last week in Vienna. Last week, Iran granted Assad a $1 billion credit line, and more is expected once frozen Iranian assets are released if/when the agreement is implemented. Assad received an estimated $35 billion per year in order to survive, and analysts now say that the Vienna agreement will be his lifeline.

The Tower, citing the Financial Times, reported today that the “Iranians are paying Syrian Army deserters double to keep fighting for Assad.” A recruiter promised Syrian soldiers a monthly wage of $200, much more than the $60 they received from the Syrian government.

Iran-funded paramilitary organizations like the Maghaweer and the National Defense Force offer some “of the few economic opportunities left for many young men.” In addition to generous salaries, the militias offer pardons to young men for draft dodging.

The Daily Beast quoted a Syrian blogger last week who wrote that the economic windfall Iran is expected to receive from the recent nuclear agreement will likely mean “more bombs, more bullets, and more militias will be sent to Assad, and the easing of sanctions means more money will be used to prop up his economy and keep him in power.”

Assad suffered a series of setbacks recently that seemed to indicate the end of his regime was near. The main reason for the string of defeats his army suffered is a shortage of manpower. The Arab news site Albawaba revealed today that Arab media were circulating an allegedly leaked document from the Assad regime that gives evidence to the claim that the Syrian army suffers from mass defection.

“Six hundred eighty six army soldiers are wanted from the western village of Qardaha, Assad’s hometown, after they defected. The list of troops includes key leadership of government forces and, allegedly, men from the Assad family itself. The list of the troops also includes 319 core commanders in charge of infantries, tanks and missile launches,” Albawaba reported.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Exclusive Report: Druze Claim Obama Founded The Islamic State And Jabhat Al-Nusra And Israel Provide ISIS With Weapons

Welcome to Majdal Shams, the largest Druze town in the Israeli Golan Heights and the capital of conspiracy theories.

When I visited the town earlier this year, I noticed a change in the attitude of the residents toward Israel. The Druze I spoke with at the time were very afraid of the rise of the Islamic State in Syria and seemed finally to have reconciled themselves with the fact that they are part of Israel.

Majdal Shams became part of Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967, but the Druze residents always stayed loyal to the Assad regime in Syria. The bloody civil war seems to have poured cold water on the love affair between Assad and the Druze in Majdal Shams.

On Monday I was back in Majdal Shams for a series of interviews with local leaders and residents and for a report about a demonstration against the looming threat of an Islamic State assault on the Druze in the Jabal al-Druze area (Suwayda) in Syria.

Salman Fakhr Eddin, Director of the Al-Marsad Arab Human Rights Centre in Golan Heights, was the first Majdal Shams resident I spoke with. He had prepared several booklets for the interview that dealt with the human rights situation after the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights.

I asked him if there wasn’t a greater human rights problem in Syria at the moment. Although he admitted that there was a problem in Syria, he preferred to talk about Israel and the “crimes Israel committed against the Druze.”

When I confronted him with the fact that Israeli Druze are loyal citizens and overwhelmingly choose to serve in the IDF, he excused himself and said that he had to make an important phone call. Needless to say, he didn’t return.

Samara Suleiman, a resident of Majdal Shams, told me that after the IDF thwarted a terrorist attack by a Hezbollah cell on the Syrian border near Majdal Shams in April, the mood in the town changed.

Two of the four Hezbollah terrorists killed by the IDF were Majdal Shams natives. “The brothers Tair and Nazih Mahmoud, both in their 20s, were born in the Druze village but later moved to the village of Hader in the Syrian Golan Heights,” Ynet reported at the time.

Suleiman said the Druze in Majdal Shams who still support Israel are “bought with money” and that Israel is “only interested in another occupation, this time of Damascus.”

He denied that Assad is on his way out. “To the contrary,” he said, ”he controls much of Syria and not Hezbollah or Iran – they only want to help Assad.”

Suleiman also knew “for sure” that Israel helps Jabhat al-Nusra and even the Islamic State. He told me without a blink of the eye that Israel delivers food, medicine, and weapons to al-Nusra and treats ISIS fighters in Israeli hospitals. When he noticed that I gazed at him somewhat flabbergasted, he asked where I got my information. “Everybody knows this is the truth,” he said.

It was almost 5:00 p.m. and the Druze leadership had organized a demonstration against the Islamic State at the central square in Majdal Shams. When I arrived I noticed huge Syrian flags on the buildings surrounding the square. In the center of the square a portrait of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was placed at the pedestal of a monument for Druze leader Sultan al-Atrash, who led the Druze uprising against the French Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon from 1923-1925.

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The Druze were chanting slogans against the Islamic State and al-Nusra and praised the Syrian dictator.

Watch the video of the demonstration here:

I also interviewed Ibrahim Izz al Din, a Druze resident of Majdal Shams. He claimed that the Druze would be able to expel the Islamic State and al-Nusra from Syria and said that they have the necessary weapons to do this. The weapons were purchased from the U.S. administration and from Assad, whom he called “a dog.” He said they would not take weapons from Israel.

He repeated Suleiman’s claim that Israel treated wounded ISIS and al-Nusra fighters in Israeli hospitals and that Israel supplies weapons to al-Nusra. He also claimed that Obama founded the Islamic State and al-Nusra and called the U.S. president a liar.

He then added that “it was obvious that Obama had founded Islamic State because they are not Muslim at all.”

The evidence? “They would decapitate people and then shout, ‘Allah hu akbar.’ Those are not Muslims or Arabs,” he said.

The Druze are ready to fight, he said, adding that “they have fighters from the age of nine to one hundred years.” He claimed that the Druze can form a standing army of 600,000 men. He also said that, if necessary, “the Druze would open the border themselves and supply the weapons to their brethren in Syria.”

You can watch the interview with Ibrahim Izz al-Din here:

When I left Majdal Shams I was puzzled. These Druze have already been living in Israel for 48 years, but they are still acting as if they are part of a Syria that ceased to exist a long time ago. They apparently think that the Syria of old will return one day and then everything will be fine.

Their behavior stands in sharp contrast to the Druze in Israel who have fully accepted the existence of the Jewish state and have adjusted to Israeli society.

Druze are known for their ability to adjust to the country they are living in, so why do the Druze in the Israeli Golan Heights have such different views from the Druze living in Israel within the “Green Line” (the 1949 armistice lines)?

The answer could be that the Druze community in Syria was torn apart by the Six-Day War in 1967. All Druze living on the Israeli side of the border still have family in Syria.

Until recently, they used to “meet” each other on two hills adjacent to Majdal Shams. There they could have direct contact and they used to shout to each other across the valley. The place was called “Shouting Hill,” but the exchanges have stopped because the area is now controlled by al-Nusra.

And if you wonder how they got brainwashed, they still watch the Assad-controlled Syrian state television.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Exclusive Report From Israel’s New Front In Syria: ‘The Border Of The Islamic State Is Not In Syria And Iraq’

Katzrin is a town in the Israeli Golan Heights some 20 miles from the border with Syria. When I passed the town on my way to the border, I noticed unusual IDF activity in the fields in the vicinity of Katzrin.

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Many tanks and armored vehicles were lined up on the outskirts of a temporary army base. IDF Humvees stood next to the private cars of reserve soldiers who were taking part in an exercise.

Ten miles east of Katzrin, close to Syria, I saw more temporary army bases. Merkava tanks and huge IDF bulldozers were visible from the road to Kuneitra.

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I was approaching the border. At the Kuneitra viewpoint I noticed black flags on top of buildings on the Syrian side of the border. This was a clear sign that Jabhat al-Nusra is now in control of the Kuneitra area. The abandoned United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) buildings on the Syrian side of the border are also in the hands of the al-Qaeda affiliate. The staff of the UNDOF has been relocated to a camp in the Israeli Golan Heights and elsewhere in the north of Israel.

The ‘peace’ that existed on the Israeli-Syrian border for almost 40 years is gone. In the distance I heard explosions now and then. The fighting in the area next to the border has become somewhat subdued since al-Nusra and the Western-backed Free Syrian Army drove out Assad’s army last month.

Most of the fighting today takes place in the Daraa Province and Suwayda, the area where most of Syria’s Druze live. Just today Syrian helicopters dropped barrel bombs on several towns in Daraa. Regime forces also fired missiles on the town of Eastern al-Kark, as reported by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

In Suwayda province, a fierce battle is taking place in the area of the vital al-Tha’ala airbase. The Syrian Observatory reported that eight fighters of the Islamist coalition led by al-Nusra were killed today; but in Kuneitra everything seemed quiet for the time being.

Several people in the Druze village of Majdal Shams in the Israeli Golan Heights told me the quiet is partly because Israel is in contact with al-Nusra. They said Israel has warned the al-Qaeda branch not to attack the Syrian Druze town of Khader opposite Magdal Shams on the Golan Heights.

I drove to Lake Ram, close to Mount Hermon, where I met Hassan Safadi, a Druze resident of Magdal Shams who is well-informed about the situation in the Syrian Golan Heights. Safadi told me that the Druze in the villages in the Israeli Golan Heights are very suspicious of Israel, but now they have no other choice than to cooperate. Druze leaders have asked Israel to open the border in case the Islamic State launches its anticipated attack on the Druze villages and towns in Suwayda and the Kuneitra area. Safadi said he would prefer that the Druze stay in Suwayda and receive arms and other forms of help.

Safadi also told me that the Druze in Suwayda have established a new militia called Shiugh al Karama (Sheiks of Dignity) and that Israeli Druze and the Druze in the Golan Heights have raised $10 million over the last week to enable weapon purchases for the Druze in Suwayda and Kuneitra. He also reported that 35,000 young Druze in Syria have refused to serve in Assad’s army and now want to fight for the newly established Druze militia.

Druze journalist Hamad Awidat of Majdal Shams reported during the same meeting in a restaurant at Lake Ram that the militia already has 50,000 fighters and that the Druze in Suwayda will launch a preemptive attack on the Islamic State “in the coming days.” He even said that the Druze in Syria, Israel, and Lebanon are able to mobilize a force of 200,000 men to fight against the Islamic State.

Awidat, who works for the Iranian outlet Fars News, told me that the Islamic State is less than two miles away from the border with Israel. Western Journalism was not able to verify Awidat’s report.

Druze IDF Brigadier General Ma’da Hasbani refused to confirm or deny the report in a telephone conversation with Western Journalism yesterday.

Hasbani said that “Israel is not part of the conflict in Syria and should not be part of it. Druze are able and capable of defending themselves. In history Druze were known as good fighters and they are able to defend themselves.”

He also said the Druze will not leave Syria: “They will stay in Jabal al-Arab because a Druze knows that they are the protector of the land and they will not abandon it.” Hasbani also refused to comment on reports that Israel is planning to create a humanitarian buffer zone on the Syrian side of the border in Kuneitra.

Earlier, Druze Deputy Minister of Regional Affairs Ayoub Kara told the Hebrew news site NRG that Israel is carrying out certain “secret efforts to protect the Druze community in Syria.” Kara refused to say more about the matter at the time. “It is forbidden for us to talk about these matters, we are doing everything to help,” he told NRG.

During a meeting at Elyakim Junction, close to the Israeli Druze town of Daliyat al-Karmel, yesterday, Kara seemed to backtrack on his statement to NRG. He told me he does not want Israel to support the Druze in Syria. “They are strong enough,” he said.

He repeated what Hasbani had told me and said, “Israel is not part in this conflict.”

During the same meeting, Kara warned that “the world must understand that the border of the Islamic State is not in Syria and Iraq.”

“They will move to Europe and the United States, so it is in the interest of the whole world to help the Druze and the Kurds in their fight against ISIS,” Kara added.

“Israel is the front of the free world in the war with ISIS. The world must understand that the border is not here. If they fail to understand this it will end as the Third World War,” Kara told me

Today the Israeli Chief of Staff Gabi Eizenkot told the Knesset Foreign Affairs Committee that the IDF will not sit on its hands in the Golan Heights and “will act to prevent a massive influx of refugees but will also take humanitarian action to prevent a slaughter of the fleeing refugees.”

 

Next report: The world upside down in the Druze town of Majdal Shams on the Israeli Golan Heights

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Syrian Druze Fear For Their Lives After Al Qaeda Branch Massacres 20 Of Their Brethren

Western Journalism is reporting directly from the Israeli-Syrian border where Al Qaeda branch Jabhat al-Nusra controls most of the area. The Islamic State has announced that it will conquer the area soon and has already attacked the Druze living in the Suwayda Mountains close to the Israeli border.

This first report deals with the situation of the Druze community in Syria after Al Qaeda murdered twenty Druze in Northern Syria last week.

Last Wednesday, Jabhat al-Nusra, the Al Qaeda branch in Syria, shot and killed twenty Druze citizens in the village of Qalb Loze in the northern Idlib Province. The massacre raised fears in the Druze community that Islamist rebel groups such as al-Nusra and the Islamic State are gearing up for the annihilation of their (non-Muslim) community.

Al-Nusra killed the Druze after one of their fighters was killed in a shoot-out when the group tried to confiscate a house in the Druze village. Members of Jabhat al-Nusra had first killed the Druze tenant of the house who, they said, was collaborating with Assad’s forces. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that among the 20 Druze who were shot after the incident, there were elderly people and at least one child. Al-Nusra later issued a statement in which it showed remorse over the killings and announced that the perpetrators of the massacre would have to stand trial before an Islamic court.

Until recently, the Druze minority have succeeded in remaining neutral in the Syrian civil war by keeping a low profile. But after the Islamic State started to make inroads into the southern Suwayda Province and seemed to be preparing for a major assault on Druze villages in the Suwayda Mountains, the Druze started to mobilize.

They know what the Islamic State did to the Assyrian and Iraqi Christians and to the Yazidi community in Iraq, and they fear they will be next in line.

Druze are not Muslims; they have their own faith which has its origins in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and has elements of Buddhism and Hinduism. They have lived in mountainous areas in Lebanon, Syria, and Israel for almost a thousand years and enjoyed relative autonomy in Mount Lebanon during the Ottoman era.

In March, they called upon Syrian President Assad to provide them with weapons and ammunition but to no avail. When the Syrian army started to make preparations to abandon their positions in Suwayda last week, young Druze men stopped an army convoy and tried to confiscate missiles and tanks.

Druze men no longer want to serve in the Syrian army and are reportedly pressing the Druze leaders to form a militia that will be able to defend the Suwayda region against al-Nusra and Islamic State. There are also reports that Druze men deserted from Assad’s army after they learned they would not be deployed in the Suwayda region, but elsewhere in Syria.

Syrian Druze leaders called upon the United States to bomb Islamic State positions in the area and to provide air support in case they have to repel an attack by the Islamist rebel groups.

Druze leaders in Israel called upon the government in Jerusalem to open the border for refugees and to provide aid to the Druze in Syria.

Ha’aretz reported on Sunday that Israel had asked the U.S. to increase aid to the Druze in Syria. The request was made to Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey when he visited Israel last week.

On Sunday afternoon, Ynet reported that Israel is planning to create a buffer zone on the Syrian Golan Heights for Druze refugees in case Islamic State and other Islamist rebel groups conquer the Jabal al-Druze region in the Suweida Province and the Druze town of Khader close to the Israeli border. The report was later erased, probably by order of the military censor in Israel.

Israeli Druze leader Sheikh Moafaq Tarif also asked the U.S. to help the Druze community in Syria. “If the Druze do not live in peace in Syria, those who hurt them will also not live in peace,” Tarif said.

On Saturday, thousands of Israeli Druze took to the streets to demand that Israel and the international community intervene and save the Syrian Druze community from a massacre by the Islamic State.

A resident of the Druze village of Masada on the Israeli Golan Heights told Ynet: “I have family and friends who I’m very worried about and I try to help them in any way I can, I hope that the State of Israel will help them and let them come to Masada. We are all ready to take them into our homes.”

Israeli Druze have always been loyal to the Jewish State, and most of them (82%) serve in the IDF.  The IDF recently decided to disband the Druze Herev Battillion because Druze soldiers want to serve with Jewish soldiers in regular field units.

Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt tried to calm the Druze community in Syria and said the attack in Qaldb Loze was an “individual” incident. Jumblatt also said that the Druze did not need assistance from Israel or from Assad’s army. “Both sides are talking in a sectarian tone, which aims to perpetuate sectarianism and divide the country,”Jumblatt said during a press conference in Beirut.

Wiam Wahhab, another Lebanese Druze politician, seemed less sure that the killings in Qalbd Lose were an isolated incident. Wahhab, who has close ties to the Assad regime, urged all Druze to help their Syrian brethren with money, weapons, and volunteers.

Meanwhile, the news site Syria Direct cited an anonymous resident of Jabal al-Druze who reported that the Druze in the Suwayda mountains have a “high morale and have announced their readiness to fight.”

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth