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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid