The Druze community in Syria: religious leaders on the frontline

    In January 2015, a group of Druze religious leaders destroyed a security checkpoint at the western entrance of the Druze-majority city of Sweida, 100 kilometers south of Damascus. No blood was spilled and no battle was needed. A week later, Syrian regime soldiers erected two tents on the ruins of the destroyed checkpoints and stayed in the tents in a
2015-03-29

Ayman Al-Shoufi

Syrian Journalist


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    In January 2015, a group of Druze religious leaders destroyed a security checkpoint at the western entrance of the Druze-majority city of Sweida, 100 kilometers south of Damascus. No blood was spilled and no battle was needed. A week later, Syrian regime soldiers erected two tents on the ruins of the destroyed checkpoints and stayed in the tents in a symbolic act to save the state’s blushes. The act was not spontaneous and thus it cannot be overlooked, but it was not accompanied or succeeded by a revolution. This is not surprising in a city that avoided genuine participation in the protest movement that began in March 2011, with the exception of few demonstrations that the regime suppressed with local forces. The question that begs to be asked, though: why do those religious leaders lead the frontline of social action instead of other figures?

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