A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, June 22, 2015

Golan Druze Attack IDF Ambulances Carrying Syrian Soldiers

Twice today there were reports of attacks by Golan and Israeli Druze against Israel Defense Forces (IDF) carrying wounded from the Syrian civil war, The first attack occurred in the upper Galilee Druze town of Hurfeish, leaving one local Druze wounded. The second attack, near Majdal Shams in the Golan, reportedly involved a crowd of 150 and left one Syrian soldier dead and several wounded, including the Israeli driver and doctor.

The incidents come amid growing tensions among local Druze in the Galilee and Golan, concerned about attacks on their fellow Druze inside Syria by yhe jihadist Jabhat al-Nusra. Since the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) was forced to withdraw last fall from the buffer zone to the Israeli forward line of control, both the IDF and the UN peacekeepers are essentially on the front line of the Syrian civil was.

Reeent background pieces in The Washington Post and the Irish Times (many of the UN peacekeepers are Irish troops) have dealt with the growing tensions as the Golan Druze demand protection for their Syrian co-religionists, many of whom have family ties across the disengagement line. Apparently the attacks on the ambulances were insire by fear that the wounded Syrians were Jabhat al-Nusra, though the Israeli reports seem to imply they were regime soldiers. Isral has regularly been treating Syrians wounded in the civil war in field hospitals in the north.

The growing danger that the fighting in Syria could spill into the Golan (or into Jordan), makes the Golan front a dangerous one.

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