DRUZEBOLLAH : Damascus gives Hezbollah fighters Druze ID cards, opposition source says

14/07/2013 – AL ARABIYA – The Syrian government is providing members of the Lebanese Shiite militant group, Hezbollah, as well as Shiite fighters from Iraq with Syrian identity cards carrying Druze names, a Syrian opposition fighter told Al Arabiya on Saturday.

They are being given “forged” IDs before being sent to fight in the rebel-held southern province of Daraa, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The Druze – who live primarily in Lebanon, Syria, Israel and Jordan – are a minority in the Middle East. Since the March 2011 uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s Druze community – like most minority groups in the country – did not voice their opposition to Assad, who is an Alawite, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

However, the opposition source said: “The Syrian regime has failed to involve the residents of Soueida to fight against the rebels,” who are mostly Sunni.

Soueida, which borders Jordan and Daraa, is a mainly Druze city located around 100 kilometers south of Damascus. “The city has been used as a channel of entry into Daraa by Hezbollah and other Assad forces to fight rebels,” said the source, adding that the Damascus regime has sent a number of Lebanese Druze figures to persuade the Druze community take part in the fight alongside Assad forces against the rebels. However, the source said that residents of the city of Soueida have not taken up arms against the rebels but instead were instructed by their religious leaders to stay out of the conflict. Lebanon’s Hezbollah publicly intervened in the conflict in neighboring Syria in April, siding with the Assad regime against the rebels.