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

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter 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.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid