The Druze in Syria are frustrated with Russia and Assad, who stripped them of their weapons in return for protection, and Lebanese Druze politicians use this storm for their benefit
The shock waves from the Islamic State massacre in the heavily Druze city of Sweida on Wednesday that left more than 260 people dead reached Israel, where thousands of Druze demonstrated in protest, and Lebanon, where more than 300,000 Druze live.
This is probably the worst event to hit the Druze community in general, and in Syria in particular, since the Syrian civil war began.
The deep tragedy was compounded by the deep frustration with Russia, which had promised to protect the Druze community of around 800,000 in Syria and did not keep its commitment. The Druze are also disappointed with the Syrian military, with which Sweida’s Druze had come to an understanding on cooperation that included the return of weapons, enlisting Druze militiamen to the army and even allowing young Druze to start enlisting. Not all of Sweida’s residents supported these agreements, which were made with the sect’s spiritual leaders in the city. But the recognition that Bashar Assad would remain at the country’s helm after the war and the desire to protect themselves and their properties led them to give the Russians and Syrians what they wanted – namely, that the Druze wouldn’t stand in the way of the Syrian army gaining control of southern Syria.