Druze in Golan rally against Assad - Israel News, Ynetnews

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Assad losing Druze support? AFP/Syrian TV
Assad losing Druze support? AFP/Syrian TV

Druze in Golan rally against Assad

For first time, Druze living in Golan Heights join protests against Syrian government

Hagai Einav
Published: 04.16.11, 22:11 / Israel News

For weeks, Druze residents in both Syria and the Golan Heights have voiced their support for Syrian President Bashar Assad – but things started to change Saturday.


Following a rare anti-Assad protest by Druze in Syria, some 200 Druze residents of Golan Heights villages demonstrated against the Syrian ruler. The protestors held up Syrian flags and signs supporting anti-Assad protestors across the border.


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"A government change is unavoidable," said Ahmad, who resides in Majdel Shams. "It's true that Assad spoke about change, but that came after a massacre against our people. It's true that not too many people arrived at the protest, but some stayed home yet still support us."


Some protestors lit candles in honor of those killed in Syrian riots and called for an end to the bloodshed.


"We in the Golan are united around the fact that we are an inseparable part of Syria, yet the disagreement has to do with the regime that will lead the state," said another protestor, Yusef. "There is no doubt that change must come, and we saw it in Tunisia, in Egypt, and in Libya too recently."


The rally ended after about an hour and a half with no incident.


Mass rallies in support of Assad have been held in the Golan recently, with observers estimating that the Druze in Israel were toeing the line with their relatives across the border.


Earlier Saturday, Druze residents in the Golan held a pro-Assad rally. Participants sang the Syrian national anthem and observed a minute of silence in memory of those killed in the violence.


"Al-Jazeera and the Arab networks are forging images in order to topple the Syrian regime; it's libel," said Saeed Mahmoud, while threatening to boycott anyone who protests against Assad.


Hassan Shaalan contributed to the story



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