News / Middle East

Syrian Uprising Divides Syrians in Golan Heights

Scott Bobb

The confrontation is growing bloodier in Syria between forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and supporters of a nine-month uprising against his government. The strife is also causing divisions among Syrians in the Golan Heights, which has been under Israeli control since the 1967 war.

Majdal Shams is the main town of the occupied Golan Heights. Some residents are debating the situation in Syria, their home country.

Shop owner Hussein Jamil says terrorists are behind the nine-month-old uprising and they will not succeed. “All the people of the Golan Heights are of the same opinion. We are supporting President Assad and we are thinking that what is going on is, it's a conspiracy," he said.

Most of the 10,000 Syrians living in this area are Druze who traditionally have supported the 41-year-old regime of President Bashar al-Assad and his late father, Hafez al-Assad.

But the rift in Syrian society is now causing differences here. Jamil's neighbor, Husam Ayyeb. “I believe that as president, [Assad] should not be in power more than five or ten years. The state does not belong to him so he cannot rule for 50, 40 years. There are people who are better qualified than him and can govern better," he said.

Ninety-two year-old Sheikh Hassan Bashir says all that Syrians want is a peaceful resolution to the confrontation. “We are in too much pain. This is not in our interest or the interest of the Jews, or America, or France, or Britain, not even Russia, nobody. This is very damaging," he said.

The uprising has left an estimated 4,500 people dead and is fueling tensions in the region. Turkey, Syria's northern neighbor, has called for a buffer zone to protect dissidents from pro-Assad forces.

Israel, this past week, held military exercises in the Golan. Syria also held exercises, firing rockets into its eastern desert.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak called it a display of Syrian bravado. “It is an event that takes place more out of fear and distress than from confidence. The Assad family is losing its grip. Bashar al-Assad's fate is sealed. He will fall," he said.

The Arab League has suspended Syria and is imposing sanctions.

Pharmacist Gandi Kahluni, a fervent Assad supporter, is angry at the Arab response. “The (Arab) governments are collaborators but the Arab people are still alive. At the end of the day, the Arab truth will win against those oppressors, those cowards," he said.

Human rights activist Salman Fakhraldeen says Syrians now are discussing politics and human rights which they were afraid to do before. But he acknowledges the situation is unsettling the community. "The main problem in this small place, occupied Golan, is to keep the peaceful life of the community. The politics can be changed, but not the community," he said.

Syrians living in occupied Golan are in a delicate position. Their country is still officially at war with Israel. As a result, the conflict in Syria heightens their uncertainties and adds to their distress.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid