IDF VOWS TO PROTECT SYRIAN DRUZE VILLAGE AFTER SYRIAN SPILLOVER

 

BY UDI SHAHAM
 NOVEMBER 3, 2017 12:52
The resident of a Druze village in the Golan Heights was treated and the IDF is watching the developments of the battles at the Hader region across the border.
IDF vows to protect Syrian Druze village after Syrian spillover

 IDF Northern Command Commander Maj.-Gen. Yoel Strick and Druze Sheikh Muafik Tarif. (photo credit:Courtesy)

Israel Defense Force spokesperson Ronen Manelis said in a statement that the IDF will stand by the side of the Druze population as the fighting in Syria intensifies, after a resident of Majdal Shams was injured by gunfire on Friday that seems to be spillover from the Syrian war.

“In recent hours we witness the intensifying of the fighting at the area of the Druze village of Hadher in the Syrian part of the Golan Heights,” he said.

The IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, Northern Command Commander Maj.-Gen. Yoel Strick and Brig.-Gen. Yaniv Ashur were holding an assessment of the situation.

“The IDF is ready and prepared to assist the residents of the village, and will prevent the harming or the conquering of the village of Hadher our of deep commitment to the Druze population.

He also maintained that the claims of Israeli involvement and assistance to global jihad elements in the fighting on the Golan Heights are groundless.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who is in London to mark the Balfour Declaration centennial, posted a statement on his Facebook page reading: “We guard our borders in the north and the south and  maintain our support for our Druze brethren.”

Hundreds of Druze resident of Israel have gathered at the border to lend support to their relatives on the Syrian side.

A group of Druze men briefly pushed through the security fence, breaching the border, and crossed into Syrian territory before being pursued and corralled back. Military sources say this is a serious violation of the law. The situation was reported to be under control.

IDF officials met with Druze community leaders on Friday evening to discuss the ongoing situation in Hader. The head of the Druze leadership Sheikh Muafik Tarif, with other Druze leaders, warned their community against taking online rumors at face value and acting harshly based on false information.

In the meeting Shiekh Tarif told IDF Northern Command Commander Maj.-Gen. Yoel Strick that he has “full confidence in you and in the IDF to protect the Druze [people] of Hader and return things to the way they had been before, without a Jabhat al-Nusra control [there].”

Kulano MK Akram Hasson, who is a Druze, said that there are powerful family ties between the Druze who live in the Israeli side of the Golan Heights and the Druze living in Hader.

He said that “since this [Friday] morning I had held talks with [Druze] community leaders in Hader and top-ranking IDF officers and high-officials in the [Israeli] security services and I hope that a cease-fire will be achieved soon.”

MK Hasson lost four of his family members due to the Syrian spillover in Hader.

The Golan Heights is home to a small community of Druze who have been residents of Israel since it conquered the Golan heights in 1967, many of whom still identify as Syrian nationals.

Nine Syrians were killed and about 25 wounded in a terrorist attack in Hadher, which is located four km from the Israeli border, and approximately 15 km from the city of al-Qunaitra.

It was reported that the Sunni organization Jabhat al-Nusra announced that it is launching a campaign to capture that Syrian Golan villages that are under the control of the Assad regime. It was said that the organization stressed that it will not harm the villagers, as long that they would not assist or support the Alawi regime.

The Israel Police said that due to the battles near Syrian border, as a part of the general police preparation at the Golan Heights, forces were deployed and stationed at major intersections in the north.

“The deployment of the forces is intended to protected the Israeli residents in the north,” a police statement reads.

It is unclear how Israel would seek to intervene and what response that action would draw from the Syrian regime and it’s backers Iran and Russia.

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