The unseen side of the Syrian war

Druze from the village of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heigts speak to the 'Post' about the Syrian civil war and Bashar Assad.

June 4, 2013 18:43
1 minute read.
Druze village of Majdal Shams.

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 prevail.”


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 homeland.

"Our connection with Syria is an integral one, as a single entity,” said Salman Fahralden, who works for the village’s Human Rights Organization.

“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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