Druze village Majdal Shams.
(photo credit: Hadas Parush)
At the main square of the Druze village of Majdal Shams, butcher shop owner
Hassan Fahralden recites the same lines when asked who does he support and why:
“Assad will not fall. Assad is strong. The Syrian army is strong, and Assad will
Majdal Shams is the largest Druze village in the Northern Golan
Heights. The village of 10,000 was captured by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War,
and ever since, the residents live in a divided reality. They live in Israel,
but identify themselves as Syrian occupied by a foreign rule. The older
generation of the village, who had experienced living in the same land when it
was still controlled by Syria, is closely following the civil war in their
"Our connection with Syria is an integral one, as a single
entity,” said Salman Fahralden, who works for the village’s Human Rights
“But this is apparently the comedy of fate,” he continued,
“because we are under foreign occupation of Israel- it appears we are safer and
that is the tragicomedy here."
Though a clear majority of the Golan Druze
support Syrian President Bashar Assad, there are more complicated layers of
history that feed into which side they choose to support.
The hope to return the
Golan to Syrian hands, the fear of radical Islamists, and the desire for
democracy and freedom for the Syrian people. Most want the same goals, but which
side of the civil war could achieve them- depends who you ask.
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