Media activist Fadi Dahuk said that Druze sheikhs in Ashrafieh Sehnaya, southwest of Damascus, have aborted a wide-range kidnapping operation carried out by a group from the National Defense Army. The group consists of six members from Ashrafieh Sehnaya, two of whom are Kurds.
Dahuk told All4Syria that the operation targeted about 40 people from Quneitra.
"The group set up an armed checkpoint at the entrance of Qatana city, as a kind of reaction to the recent battle of Mount Hermon in which more than two dozens of young people from Druze of Mount Hermon and Sehnaya were killed. The sheikhs of the Druze of Mount Hermon considered the battle a clear attempt carried out by the regime to include the Druze in the fight against the FSA," he said.
Dahuk said that Druze religious leaders and the dignitaries of families in the cities of Sehnaya and Ashrafieh Sehnaya believe these abductions are another episode in regime's vicious attempts to draw the Druze to fight alongside the regime by creating sectarian strife that destroys the relationship between the Druze and their neighbors in Suweida, Mount Hermon and the suburbs of Damascus.
In the wake of the kidnappings, which drew widespread condemnatios from the Druze of Damascus countryside, the religious leaders issued strict instructions and warnings to anyone trying to divide the Druze community. They stressed the need to maintain "the spirit of brotherhood and neighborliness with their historical neighbors in Damascus, Daraa and Quneitra". They also warned the security officials in the region of the consequences of pushing members of the Druze community to military actions beside the regime, and of the consequences of including them in the kidnapping of civilians.
The incident follows the death of 22 Druze militants in the National Defense Army near the Lebanese border. The militants were killed in an ambush set up by the brigades of the armed opposition.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer