Syrian state media praise Druse attack on IDF ambulance in Golan Heights

The incident in the Golan village of Majdal Shams overlooking Syrian territory was the second attack by Druse on an Israeli army ambulance in less than 24 hours.

June 23, 2015 10:43
2 minute read.
Syrian President Bashar Assad waves to supporters in Damascus

Syrian President Bashar Assad waves to supporters in Damascus. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Syrian state media praised Druse villagers in the Israeli Golan Heights on Tuesday for attacking an Israeli military ambulance they said was carrying two insurgents from a group fighting President Bashar Assad.

The Israeli army said one of the men in the ambulance was killed as a result of the attack it described as a lynching.

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The incident in the Golan village of Majdal Shams overlooking Syrian territory was the second attack by Druse on an Israeli army ambulance in less than 24 hours.

It reflected rising Druse agitation over what the community sees as Israel's failure to help embattled Druse brethren in Syria while offering medical aid to Syrian civilians and combatants who include anti-Assad fighters.

Insurgent advances towards Druse areas in southern Syria and a mass killing of Druse by Nusra Front fighters in the northwest have fueled fears among the minority. Concern has also rippled through Lebanon and Israel, which both have Druse communities.

A report on state news agency SANA described the Druse villagers as "heroic Syrian young men" and identified the insurgents as members of the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front.

SANA said the Druse had inflicted "the punishment on them for their participation in the aggression on the mother homeland, Syria, and its people."

The Israeli military declined to elaborate on the identities of the Syrians who were in the ambulance.

Speaking on Israel's Army Radio, Brigadier-General Moti Almoz said: "About 100 people stormed the wounded people and as a result of this contact the injured men's condition deteriorated and one of them died - this was a lynching, yes."

He said the men in the ambulance were Syrian citizens injured in Syrian civil war fighting, but did not explicitly say whether they were fighters or civilians.

Insurgents last week launched a new offensive against the Syrian military and allied militia in the southwestern province of Quneitra, which borders the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Their advance near the Druse village of Hader has compounded Druse concerns that their minority faces a risk from the insurgency.

Nusra Front fighters earlier this month shot dead at least 20 Druse villagers in the northwestern province of Idlib.

An alliance of rebels who profess a secular vision for Syria say they launched the latest Quneitra offensive and have excluded the Nusra Front from the fighting. Nusra does however have a presence in the south.

The Druse practice a religion that is an offshoot of Islam and seen as heretical by the puritanical brand of Sunni Islamism espoused by al-Qaida.

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