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Tribalism, confessionalism and Islamism are the specters which were both tabooed and instrumentalised by the Ba῾th party ideology and the regime of the Asads in Syria for the past 50 years. 1 While the ethnic-religious group of the ῾Alawites provided the main power base for Ḥāfiz al-Asad and his son and successor Bashār, the other, smaller ethnic-religious group of the Druzes carved out a different role and identity for itself in Syria.

Compared with the Druzes in Lebanon and Israel, the Druzes in Syria are probably the least known of the Druze communities in the Middle East. Their part throughout Syrian history has been a rebellious one, contesting the power of Ottomans, French and two Syrian presidents after independence and thus amassing a cultural capital that allowed them to cast themselves as the scions of Arab nationalism and the liberators of the fatherland from foreign colonialists and inner dictators alike. Yet, in the strong (and also “deep”) state of the Asads this high turf was taken by the Ba῾th ideology, which prohibited any difference in the Arab nation and all the Druzes could do with their symbolic capital was to contest at least some of this ideological and cultural space, at home in their own area. The Ba῾thist state of Ḥāfiz and Bashār al-Asad encouraged the role of religion and religious leaders as well as traditional clan structures in the inner workings of the community and discouraged secular intellectuals, despite the secular national outlook of the Ba῾th itself. Since March 2011, when revolution broke out in Syria which deteriorated into a brutal war, the Druzes as a group have so far tried to remain neutral and silent with their religious leaders standing firm at the side of Bashār al-Asad, for fear of radical Islamists. Only individuals, the vast majority secular minded, have joined the opposition movement, despite pressure from their own group as well as the regime.

The Druze Community in Syria

  1. Top of page
  2. The Druze Community in Syria
  3. The Historical Roots of Druze Identity in Syria: A Tradition of Rebellion
  4. Contesting space: The political discourse of the Ba῾th regime and the legacy of Sulṭān Pasha al-Aṭrash
  5. Recent “Druze Revolts”
  6. The Druzes in the Civil War, 2011/12

The Druze settlement in the Ḥawrān south of Damascus is the youngest of the Druze settlements in present-day Lebanon, Israel and Syria. Smaller settlements in Syria itself are the former Druze village, Jaramanā, nowadays a suburb of Damascus, and a small settlement near Aleppo. Immigrants of the older settlements in Lebanon and Palestine moved to the rocky highlands of the Ḥawrān's volcanic landscape since the late 17th century. In this new homeland, called al-waṭan al-jadīd in Druze histories, they established themselves in close cultural contact with the beduin tribes then living in the area and developed some distinct social traits of the steppe in their community, namely the social dynamics of first and second rank families with powerful zu῾amā’ as their heads and pronounced social habits like the hosting and protection of guests prescribed by tradition. Sharing the villages with indigenous Christians, they soon were the masters of the mountain, defending their place, soon called “Druze Mountain,” against the great bedouin tribes of the Syrian steppe and Ottoman attempts to integrate them into the Ottoman state. The Druze social landscape of clans and shaykhs (both worldly and spiritual) proved to be as impenetrable for the agents of the state(s) such as tax and census officials as the rugged mountain with its impenetrable lava stone fields was for Ottoman armies. 2

Over time, Druze identification with “their” mountain was expressed in numerous songs and poetry. 3 “Jabalnā,” our mountain, is to this very day one of the favorite denominations of their place which assumed over time a distinct character that observers did and do not fail to notice. There are up to this very day clear cultural boundaries between the Druzes of the Ḥawrān highlands and the Sunni Muslims of the plain. Even when the distance between a village of the Jabal Druze with a mostly Druze population and a village in the plain with a mostly Muslim population is only five miles, headgear and dress as well as dialect change. The Druzes belong to the “speakers of the qāf” (they pronounce, as do the ῾Alawites, the letter qāf which urban people omit). Village architecture is also different. 4 Sunni plain and Druze mountain have historically been at odds with each other, competing with each other for resources and fame.

Much of their fascination for observers through the ages derives of course from the faith of the Druzes, a highly esoteric one, of a secret religion, that has served at all times as a projectory of the fears and desires of the people around them, mostly Sunni Muslims. With the indigenous Christians the Druzes lived in successful cohabitation in the Jabal. Religion is, of course, one of the strong factors shaping Druze identity, yet in a paradoxical way. People are, on the one hand, born into the Druze sect. Druzedom is a closed faith. Nobody can enter the religious group, and nobody is supposed to leave it through marriage outside of the group. Endogamy has been strictly adhered to and the violation of this principle is socially sanctioned up until this very day. But Druzedom is an esoteric religion, which encourages the study of its principles only with respect to mature individuals who have reached a certain age, and then only allows those particularly eager and apt to learn and read, and the sons of spiritual shaykhs, the “initiated” (῾uqqāl) into the higher mysteries. The separation of the spheres, the religious and the secular, has been quite strict. The religious shaykhs were over long periods of history not supposed to get themselves entangled in the mundane sphere of politics, with the exception of the office-holders of the religious sphere, the shuyūkh al-῾aql. Only when the existence of the group was at stake did the religious shaykhs leave their ascetic sphere and thrust themselves into fierce battle. The separation of the spheres has traditionally been expressed in the terms for their elites. The worldly shaykh is called shaykh jusmānī (bodily sheikh), while the religious sheikh is called shaykh rūḥī (spiritual shaykh). There are two ways to become a religious sheikh, also called juwwayyid (noble, high-minded). One is by the path of piety and holiness, without this requiring the man or the woman, for there are initiated shaykhas, to know much about the mysteries of the religion, and the other is through expert knowledge of the holy scriptures. The highest rank is held by those who are able to combine both holiness and knowledge. They lead an ascetic life, nourishing themselves exclusively from the pure things of nature, which they cultivate themselves. Their task is to channel divine blessing on the community, through their rituals and meditation, undertaken in the khalwa, a sacred place and congregation outside the village and thus removed from the political factionalism of the secular sphere. The spiritual shaykhs have traditionally been absolutely forbidden to become involved in politics, something that seems to have been forgotten today.

There is, however, the function of the shaykh al-῾aql. In view of the rejection of worldly power in the sphere of spirituality, the nature of the office of the shaykh al-῾aql is somewhat ambiguous. The title itself is problematic and difficult to interpret, and the ancient Druze scriptures do not mention it. With the Syrian Druzes there have historically been three families of shuyūkh al-῾aql, the Hajarī, the Jarbū῾a, and the Ḥinnāwī. Although there is factionalism, in Syria the shaykh al-῾aql is much less dependent on one of the great families, unlike Lebanon, where the Jounblats and the Arslans virtually all but nominate the shaykh al-῾aql. The office was most probably encouraged by the state, i.e. the Ottomans, who wanted a religious spokesman for the Druze communities. The first recorded incident of a shaykh al-῾aql al-Hajarī representing the Syrian Druze community occurred in the sectarian crisis of 1860, and today the shuyūkh al-῾aql are supposed to represent the community in times of crisis, in religious matters, and above the strong factionalism inherent in Druze society. 5

Thus, the identity of the general Druze public, the juhhāl or uninitiated, is influenced by Druzedom in only a very general, ethical way. Not to kill, steal, lie to one's fellow man, especially the brethren in faith and to lead a monogamous life are the general demands on the uninitiated. The fact that Druze religious identity is a rather vaguely defined entity, has not spared them from religious prejudice from all quarters surrounding them. The Ottomans had fatāwā issued that justified war against them, and in 1910 the Young Turks destroyed the majlis, the prayer house, of al-Suwaydā’ in a punitive campaign, replacing it with a mosque on the same site. The lengthy correspondence undertaken in particular by the religious shaykh Ḥusayn Ṭarabih (no shaykh al-῾aql) with the Young Turk authorities expressed a clear position: How, he asked, in the “enlightened age of the constitution,” could it be possible to destroy a prayer house? And: lt is well-known, he went on, that the Druze respect “God, the Prophet, and the Koran,” but it is also well-known that “the Islamic community is divided into various groupings, each representing its own doctrinal opinion.” 6 The background to this dispute appears to be the Ottoman attempt to assimilate the Druze into mainstream Islam.

But more important for Druze identity were historically the codes and values of their tribal political system, the mashyakha-system. 7 The real power holders in the Jabal were the worldly shaykhs of first or second rank who continuously vied for power among each other. Hospitality, courage, virility and above all fighting power were the traits that counted high, and that would be both appropriated by early Arab nationalism and used by the Druze to prove their true Arabness. 8 This discourse started around 1910, and was brought to full bloom in 1925, when the Druzes rebelled against the French and sparked off the Great Revolt. A contemporary ascription of the Arab virtues of the Druzes is the following:

“Lineages got entangled, origins got lost and blood got mixed in most places of Bilād al-Shām; but there remained in Bilād Ḥawran and some places in Lebanon a group (ṭā'ifa) who guarded its ῾arabiyya, the classical Arabic, adhering to its party spirit (aṣabiyya), and in whom is living the Qaysiyya and the Yamaniyya to the very day of these people (…) and that is the Arab and Islamic group of the Druzes who are hoisting the first flag streaming in the present Syrian revolution”. 9

In the view of the author, well-known intellectual Khayr al-Dīn al-Ziriklī, Druzedom in these days (i.e. 1925) did not have a sectarian connotation in the sense of describing people who were distinguished from the Muslims by their adherence to a sect. Rather, it had an ethnic connotation, describing a tribe which amalgamated different Arab Muslim stocks which all went back to the old tribes of Qahtān and ῾Adnān. In short: the Druzes were pure Arabs and Muslims who had truly preserved the Arab traditions and virtues such as generosity, courage, pride, honesty and loyalty.

This ascription corresponded with the view the Druzes held of themselves. Their strict endogamy, they believed, made them of much purer Arab stock than, for example, the Damascenes, whose leading families had for long been marrying non-Arab, i.e. Turkish, Circassian, Kurdish and other women. The fact that they, the Druzes, had always been nothing but peasants and warriors, despising every craft except the production of shooting powder, and, above all, urban merchants, brought them in their view also closer to noble Arab origins than most other Syrians. Their favorite denomination for themselves was for long periods of time “banū ma῾rūf”, with the first term denominating a tribal affiliation, and the second term hinting to religion. With religious identities having become ever more important in the Muslim word (and beyond), the Druzes now refer to themselves as ahl al-tawḥīd “Unitarians”. 10 There is much to suggest, however, that in the view of the Syrian Druzes their political identity was historically more shaped by the fact that they were tribes, than by the fact that they were a religious community. But to be born into Druzedom of course set them apart, made them different from their neighbors and nourished a feeling of difference.

The Historical Roots of Druze Identity in Syria: A Tradition of Rebellion

  1. Top of page
  2. The Druze Community in Syria
  3. The Historical Roots of Druze Identity in Syria: A Tradition of Rebellion
  4. Contesting space: The political discourse of the Ba῾th regime and the legacy of Sulṭān Pasha al-Aṭrash
  5. Recent “Druze Revolts”
  6. The Druzes in the Civil War, 2011/12

One way of dealing with difference is to excel. And the Druzes took up the challenge of Arab nationalism by excelling in it. Theirs was a long history of rebellion as far back as their first successful revolt against state demands such as conscription, regulated taxation and a census attempted by Ibrāhīm Pasha the Egyptian in 1838 and the subsequent revolts against Ottoman state policies to subject them to the same measures. Ottoman history was handed down orally in the Druze tradition in war songs and tales as a history of ḥamlas, military campaigns, in which Druze warriors accomplished heroic deeds and earned immortality. This tradition of rebellion they now expressed in Arab nationalist terms as the struggle against Turkish colonialism. This struggle was continued and reached the peak in the times of the French mandate over Syria.

The Druze warrior chief Sulṭān Pasha al-Aṭrash from the village al-Qurayya in the Jabal Druze provided the military leadership of the Great Revolt of 1925 against the French Mandate, in partnership with Dr. Shahbandar, head of the People's Party. The Great Revolt started in the Jabal Druze, yet spread throughout the whole of Syria. In the name of Sulṭān al-Aṭrash, Syrian compatriots were called to the cause. This “sacred Arab cause”, the “Arab honor”, and Arabism altogether were evoked in secular terms in revolutionary proclamations. “Druzes, Sunnis, Alawis, Shi'ites, and Christians were to be joined together in a durable Arab nation,” the goal of which was to achieve liberation from the yoke of French colonialism. 11

The Druzes saw themselves as ahl al-sayf wa'l-karāma (people of sword and honor) whose martial prowess had supported the urban nationalists, city-folks unfit for anti-colonial battle. Urban nationalist Munīr al-Rayyis from the city of Hama critically acknowledged this partnership, writing:

“… and the inhabitants of Damascus just looked on, expecting the Druze to liberate their city for them!” 12

Indeed, over many decades there had been fear among the urban population of Damascus of the fierce Druze warriors. In recognition of the Druzes’ revolutionary Arabism, the old Jabal al-Durūz, mountain of the Druzes, was honorably christened Jabal al-῾Arab, mountain of the Arabs in 1936.

After the advent of Syrian independence in 1946 the early years of this independence were marked — and marred — by fierce competition between the new ruling elite of urban nationalists in Damascus and the rural elites of Syria. Of these, the Druzes, drawing on the strong cultural capital they had amassed in the years of “foreign domination and colonialism” insisted on keeping their high profile. When the first independent president of Syria, Shukrī al-Quwwatlī proudly organized the great Evacuation Day ceremonies of 17 April 1946, celebrating the withdrawal of the last French troops and officials from Syria, he invited the warriors of the Great Revolt to join the festivities and acknowledge him as the president of the new republic. Sulṭān al-Aṭrash demanded in turn that Quwwatlī attend a separate festivity in the Druze Mountain and thus honor him, the leader of the Great Revolt. In the end Sulṭān did not attend the national festivities and the president did not come down to the province. Integration of the Jabal into the new nation state proved again to be difficult, although there was a strong integrationist movement of the young generation in the Jabal itself who wanted to break the power of the traditionalist clan structure in the Jabal by fully integrating into the state. This movement, calling itself the popular movement al-sha῾biyya, and led by the generation of educated youth, challenged the old guard at the polls and even staged a revolt against it in 1947. 13

The generation of Sulṭān Pasha al-Aṭrash were unionists, envisioning a union with the new state rather than full integration. In Sulṭān al-Aṭrash's view the urban nationalists and president Quwwatlī had perverted the true Arab cause, a view that gained much credibility after Dr. Shahbandar, his comrade in arms, was assassinated in 1940.

It was Shishaklī, Syria's president from 1949 until 1954, who tried to integrate the Druzes, together with the rest of Syria, by sheer force and once and for all, bombarding the mountain and stationing thousands of troops there. He also took the sons of Sulṭān Pasha, Manṣūr and Nāṣir al-Aṭrash prisoner. His quip is still well-known in Syria:

“My enemies are like a serpent: the head is the Jabal Druze, the stomach Homs, and the tail Aleppo. If I crush the head the serpent will die”. 14

It were Druze oficers, among others, who plotted his overthrow. 15 The army and the Ba῾th party were the instruments with which the new generations of the Druzes eventually integrated into the state, both the popular movement and the sons of the powerful families. Manṣūr al-Aṭrash is a good example of this. Born in the year of the revolution 1925, he had attended elementary school in al-Karak (today Jordan) where the family had been exiled after the Great Revolt, in Beirut at a Jesuit school, at the Mission Laïque school in Damascus and also in a seconday school in the Damascene quarter of the Maydān, where the founders of the Ba῾th movement, Michel 'Aflaq and Ṣalāḥ al-Dīn al- Biṭār, were working as teachers. Manṣūr joined the Ba῾th Party in 1946 at the age of twenty-one and founded a party cell at the American University of Beirut, where he studied political science and history. For a while he was a director in a school in al-Suwaydā' where all of the teachers employed were in the Ba῾th Party. He was a Ba῾thist first, and a Druze second, which is why he violated the strict code of Druze endogamy and married the sister of his Christian friend Emile against the wish of his father Sulṭān. His friend was also a Ba῾thist, of the Shuwayrī family from the Maydān, with whom the Aṭrash family had traded grain for quite some time.

Arrested under Shishaklī in 1953 and then briefly in exile with the rest of his family in Lebanon and Jordan, Manṣūr al-Aṭrash rose after the Ba῾th coup of March 8, 1963 within the nationalist branch of the Ba῾th Party, where he sat on the National Council for the Leadership of the Revolution until 1966, and was a member of the national party leadership. Belonging to the pan-Arab nationalist old guard, he was expelled from the party after the coup of the regionalists under Ḥāfiz al-Asad on February 23, 1966. There was an attempt at his life which failed. 16

Tensions rose between Druze and ῾Alawite officers in the army, and also in the party. When in 1966 after an abortive coup attempt by Druze officer Salīm Ḥaṭūm the Druzes were purged from the army and the party and Ḥāfiz al-Asad threatened to shell the Jabal, Sulṭān al-Aṭrash sent an open telegram to the Syrian general staff, expressing the Druze point of view once again:

“Our sons strike in the prisons, and we hold you responsible for the consequences. The Jabal has been — and still is — accustomed to carry out revolutions and to drive away the traitor and foreign invader. But his creed prohibits him from revolting against his brother or from acting treacherously towards a son of his [Arab] nation. This is the only deterrent [that forces us] to confine ourselves in principle to negotiations [with the official authorities]. 17

Contesting space: The political discourse of the Ba῾th regime and the legacy of Sulṭān Pasha al-Aṭrash

  1. Top of page
  2. The Druze Community in Syria
  3. The Historical Roots of Druze Identity in Syria: A Tradition of Rebellion
  4. Contesting space: The political discourse of the Ba῾th regime and the legacy of Sulṭān Pasha al-Aṭrash
  5. Recent “Druze Revolts”
  6. The Druzes in the Civil War, 2011/12

In the Syrian state of Ḥāfiz and Bashār al-Asad, the Druzes were structurally integrated. They provided at least one minister, usually two, in the cabinet and a member of the Regional Command, the highest (de-facto) party organ with 21 members. The province of al-Suwaydā' sent around 6 deputies into the Syrian parliament. The Druzes constitute around 3% of Syria's population and in the 1980s constituted 4,3% of the Ba῾th party. 18 In the inner circles of power they did not seem to figure. But what concerns us more in this essay is the question of political discourse.

The political discourse of the regime was shaped by the radically Arab-nationalist spirit and tone of the Ba῾th party. This was also true in the Syria of Bashār al-Asad. With the sudden end to the “Damascus Spring” after Bashār came to power, civil society had to realize that he did not intend to accept challenges to the monopoly of the Ba῾th ideology and to the structure of the state. He only slackened the reins a little. 19 The party constitution of 1947 is most adamant in calling for Arab unification and homogenization: “The national bond is the sole bond of the Arab State. It guarantees harmony between citizens, puts them in the melting pot of one, unified nation and protects against religious, tribal, racial and particularist fanaticism.” 20 The press code of 1948, issued in a time when British and French newspapers commented primarily on the difficulties of the young independent national government in Damascus with its rural ethnic communities, provided penalties for anybody inciting to strife among the various sects or elements of the nation. A statute of 1954 made it a punishable offense merely to refer to sectarian identity. Immediate dissolution of any association was legally required if it carried out activities of a sectarian nature. These regulations remained largely in force until the late 1990's and beyond.

Sectarianism and Islamism have been generally understood national taboo issues. Writing about them has been prevented through censorship — at all universities, a special committee examines the text books composed by the staff as well as all proposals for master's and doctoral theses. 21 Likewise, every manuscript, academic or otherwise, has to be approved by a special body before it can go into print in Syria. In some cases books were forbidden even after they were printed.

Most sensitive were the censors when the person of the president was involved. Needless to say, no word of criticism was allowed. But more than that, the president had to be treated with deference in all matters, especially Ḥāfiz al-Asad. Thus, for example, there are stories in Syria that even paragraphs including lions had to succumb to presidential deference (Asad means lion). When an author wrote “The lion of Africa is a dangerous animal” the censor would change this into “The lion is the king of the animals”. 22 A well-known Syrian author was asked to change a sentence in which somebody “co-operated with the president.” The president, it must be assumed, was above “co-operating” with anyone, and absolute (and absolutist) master of any move and decision. Frequently used epithets of Ḥāfiz were al-ra'is al-munāḍil, “the militant president” and al-qā'id li-l-abad, “leader forever”.

Criticism of the Ba῾th Party was dangerous, too, though it could sometimes be done with an exonerating formula: that the party was not worthy of the leadership of the president, for example. Any mention of an ῾Alawi role within the government as well as any mention of any other group in Syria, were out of the question. Ṭā'ifiyya, sectarianism, and Islamism were the greatest taboos and every mention of them was suspected on the grounds that it would incite sectarian strife. Only in the late 1990's and after Bashār al-Asad took over the presidency from his father were these narrow confines extended a little.

Syria is a secular state. The Syrian constitution states only that “Islam shall be the religion of the head of the state.” The original draft of the 1973 constitution made no reference to Islam at all, and this clause was inserted only as a compromise after public protest. The Syrian constitution is thus unique among the constitution of Arab states (excluding Lebanon) with a clear Muslim majority not enshrining Islam as the religion of the state. Both of the Asad presidents have made more and more concessions to the rise of popular Islam in Syria, including publicly praying in the Umayyad mosque. Syrian TV has broadcasted for many years the religious emissons of the Sunni ῾ālim Muḥammad Sa῾īd Ramaḍān al-Būṭī who also prayed at the open grave of Ḥāfiz al-Asad. But any kind of political Islam is under the eagle's eyes of the regime. It was the Muslim Brothers, brutally wiped out in 1980 in Hama, who were the first, together with the leftist opposition to castigate the Asad regime as a “Alawi regime”. 23

Public space, finally, had been reserved for a cult of the president, and to a lesser degree also for the Ba῾th party. As in other Arab countries, posters and statues of the president were ubiquitous. His name was inscribed into the natural landscape, as with pebbles and stones on hills and mountains. Given the ubiquity of the regime's presence in public, it is not difficult to see that there was not much space for possible contenders of national achievement.

Sulṭān Pasha al-Aṭrash who until the end of his life never took up political office despite numerous offers and thus managed to preserve his myth of revolutionary purity for the Arab cause, has been a contender for public space, at least in the province of al-Suwaydā'. 24 His function as a symbol for the Arab-nationalist political correctness of the province allows for a stately statue as a warrior on horseback on the main square of al-Suwaydā', a space usually reserved for statues of the president. But his role as the heroic leader of the Great Revolt 1925, next to Dr. Shahbandar, has not been uncontested in Syrian political discourse. The official historical view, represented in school books as well as in historical accounts published in Syria, denies the Syrian revolt of 1925, and accordingly its leaders, Dr. Shahbandar and Sulṭān, a special and outstanding place within Syrian national historiography. Instead, it is placed as one local insurrection among up to 11 separate others against the French mandate. 25 Clearly the 1925 revolt did not match the Ba῾thist vision of an Arab national revolution, and clearly no national hero was to rival the president himself. When Sulṭān al-Aṭrash planned to hold a great festival at the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the outbreak of the Great Revolt, in 1975, in the Jabal in which all “revolutionaries” from all over Syria were to be invited, it was signaled that Ḥāfiz al-Asad wished “to postpone” the event, which consequently did not take place. 26

The construction of Druze identity in its relation to the regime and its national discourse becomes very clear in the speech of Manṣūr al-Aṭrash at the occasion of his father's funeral, which was an event of Druze local as well as Syrian national importance. Some of the festivities were broadcasted on national television, but the president did not attend any of the festivities. In his speech, Manṣūr outlined his vision of his father's legacy to Syria and the Druzes. The center piece of this vision is the “on-going revolution”, al-thawrat al-mustamirra, “which our people led against the armies of the Turkish and the French occupation, a struggle which continues (…).”

Still true to his pan-Arab leanings, Manṣūr extolled the call for Arab unity several times, an issue on which he could challenge the allegedly pan-Arab, but factually regional orientation of the Ba῾th regime under Asad. He concluded with quite some pathos and self-assurance:

“And on his sick-bed, the leader of the Great Syrian Revolution met president Ḥāfiz al-Asad, the October hero, and they talked about history… . And the patriotic, national responsibility was a trust handed over to a hand that does not know how to become limp, and to a leader who does not know how to retreat or surrender before the attacks of the greedy and their conspiracies, and is firm in the continuation of the struggle for the liberation of the land and the realization of this national trust (i.e. Ḥāfiz al-Asad). (…) We have done our duty to the Arab nation. But the circumstances are more complex and the issue is in your hand now, so take good care of it and struggle and militate for its victory”. 27

Again here, the Druze view capitalizes on Druze history in Syria as a history of rebellion, in the eyes of the Druzes not matched by any other group, including Asad's people, the ῾Alawites. Manṣūr al-Aṭrash insisted on the primacy of the anti-colonial struggle against the French, preceding thawrat al-Ba῾th, the Ba'th revolution and stressed that his late father had been a friend of Gamal Abdel Nasser, (who actually visited him once in his village al-Qurayya in the Druze Mountain during the United Arab Republic).

Within the narrow boundaries of politically correct speech in Syria, this self-assurance was bordering on irreverence and criticism. Usually after such speeches, family members and advisors clustered together, analyzing if the speaker “had not gone too far” and evoked the wrath of the president. Local Ba῾th party officials tended to step in and remedy what “harm” might have been done by using the correct phrases and political metaphors and elevating the president to his customary position. This ritualistic discourse served a purpose. Both the state and the group were vying for the symbolic space of Arabism. Where direct political participation is not an issue, the symbolic one becomes all the more important. President Ḥāfiz al- Asad set the matter straight in his prescript to a biography of Sulṭān al-Aṭrash:

“Sulṭān Pasha al-Aṭrash was one great symbol among the symbols of the national struggle and proved himself great and pure in the struggle against the colonialists. The Great Syrian Revolt the general leadership of which he held, had a great influence in promoting the course of the struggle for independence towards victory … (read: a victory accomplished finally by the Ba῾th or rather by the president himself). In the history of our land (quṭr) his name will remain linked to the national struggle”. 28

Thus, Sulṭān al-Aṭrash has the important double-function of serving as Arab-national but also Druze-communal hero and is a symbol for both the political self-assurance and the political correctness of the Druzes.

The anniversaries of his death on March 26, 1982 developed in the following years into annual political festivities, in which not only local party leaders gave their usual speeches but in which the local youth also seized the opportunity to express its general dissatisfaction with and criticism of the regime. lt was indicative for both the growing discontent of the people and the growing pressure from above, that in 1989, after several clashes of young men with police and the security apparatus, the Aṭrash family in al-Qurayya, Sultan's village, agreed to the regime's demand to abolish this anniversary of Sulṭan's death and celebrate it instead together with the anniversary of the evacuation of the last French troops on Independence Day, thus symbolically submerging Druze and national holiday, rating Sulṭān as Syrian national symbol higher than as Druze symbol and of course expressing the political good-will of the Aṭrash family and the province.

The struggle for Sulṭān Pasha as a political symbol is also visible in public space and public monuments. In front of the Aṭrash home in al-Qurayyā the “foundation-stone of a monument for the martyrs of the Great Syrian Revolt which will also contain the corpse of its late general leader, Sulṭān Bāshā al-Aṭrash” was laid by the government in 1989. “This foundation-stone”, the inscription read in big letters, “was laid under the auspices of the Secretary General of the Ba῾th Party, Ḥāfiz al-Asad and the Regional Assistant Secretary General of the party, Dr. Sulaymān Qadāḥ, on the occasion of the forty-third anniversary of Independence Day, April 17th 1989”. A portrait in gold of Ḥāfiz al-Asad crowned the inscription, and the huge number twenty-five in stone commemorated a quarter century of the Ba῾th in power. Thus, on a symbolical level, the Ba῾th and Ḥāfiz al-Asad were again presented as the true achievers of independence. The disciplining intention of the stone was also made obvious by the fact that the 25th anniversary of the coming into power of the Ba῾th was in fact a year earlier, in 1988; and, even more, such a Ba῾th commemoration stone in front of the house of Manṣūr al-Aṭrash, was of course delicate, because the latter was pushed out of the Ba῾th party after the military wing took over.

Another contested monument was a mausoleum for Sulṭān al-Aṭrash in his native village. When his son had raised funds for this mausoleum, the president let it be known that he was “interested”. The regime then took over the construction of the building, at its own, slow pace: The mausoleum was finally finished in 2010, under Bashār al-Asad.

It is interesting to note in this context, that also on the Golan a monument on the central square of Majdal al-Shams, expressing the struggle and suffering of the Golan Druzes in Israel, is not doing without Sulṭān al-Aṭrash. Here again he stands for being Druze and being Syrian at the same time.

After the death of Sulṭān, the regime encouraged the religious leaders to represent the community. They were less “threatening” to the Ba῾th turf and more conservative in social and political matters, more apt to discourage reform, protest and innovation within and without the Jabal, a phenomenon they have in common with the religious leaders of other communities in Syria. The first shaykh al-῾aql who stepped into the power vacuum after the death of Sulṭān was Ḥusayn Jarbū῾a, who was flown back home from Venezuela, one of the major host countries of Druze emigration, when the old office holder of his family died. His unknown background created a stir in the community back then, and gave rise to all sorts of concerns and rumours since his integrity and “moral status” could not have been tested by the Syrian community itself. Yet, a skilful politician, he revived and expanded an old Druze “convent,” ῾Ayn al-Zamān, thereby creating a strong power base for himself. Today there is another shaykh al-῾aql from Venezuela.

When in 1991 the Egyptian paper al-Ahrām al-Masā'ī published a fatwā that denied the Druze faith its place within Islam, the shaykh al-῾aql dispatched a letter to the Egyptian president Ḥusnī Mubārak, expressing his hope that “the muftī of Egypt did not know what he was doing by issuing this fatwā. For, if he knew what he was doing it would be a catastrophe for Islam.” 29 The president's and the muftī's offices looked into the matter. Egypt's president wrote back to the Druzes, stating that Dr. Ṭantāwī, the muftī, denied ever having issued a fatwā like this, and the paper in question printed the explanation that it was an old fatwā of 1936 that had been printed in the newspaper, with which the current mufti of Egypt had nothing to do.

Recent “Druze Revolts”

  1. Top of page
  2. The Druze Community in Syria
  3. The Historical Roots of Druze Identity in Syria: A Tradition of Rebellion
  4. Contesting space: The political discourse of the Ba῾th regime and the legacy of Sulṭān Pasha al-Aṭrash
  5. Recent “Druze Revolts”
  6. The Druzes in the Civil War, 2011/12

The state of the Asads was too strong, deep and repressive for a major challenge from one group alone. “Druze revolts” therefore were only local affairs.

In the spring of 1993 a violent clash between the mostly Druze inhabitants of the Damascene suburb al-Jaramanā and the police took place in the course of which one policeman and one demonstrator were killed, several police and more than 100 demonstrators wounded and a nightclub burnt down. The confrontation went into the annals of Jaramanā as al-ma῾raka, “the battle”, and was whispered about in Damascus as a “Druze revolt”. Only the communist party magazine People's Struggle dedicated a few columns to the event and the causes leading up to it. What were they?

Jaramanā (population count of 1981: 64.305 inhabitants), a former Druze village, is one of the suburbs of Damascus which grow rapidly into the countryside. In the close vicinity a smaller Palestinian camp with the same name is located whose Sunni inhabitants are making up, together with numerous Christians who had moved from the old city quarters of Bāb Tūmā and Bāb Sharqī, a religious mix. The majority of the inhabitants are Druze.

The edges of the suburbs are settled by new immigrants into the city and poor young couples who find here the only affordable space to live in Damascus. Houses are being built illegally on agricultural land, electricity lines are being tapped and sewage is non-existent. The government was tolerating this illegal building boom, because this way it was exonerated from alleviating the severe housing crisis in Syria. Official campaigns were waged instead against those, “who leave their houses and their fields in order to sponge on the city”. 30 Jaramanā's illegal housing boom, however, touched on a sensitive borderline: the road to the international airport, where on the other side several casinos had been erected, investment objects for high-ranking military officers, many of whom ῾Alawite. The then governor of the province Rural Damascus, also an ῾Alawite and son of a high-ranking military officer, was in the eyes of the inhabitants of Jaramanā a notorious speculator. Whatever the reason, in the beginning of 1993 the inhabitants of the houses built within 200 meters of the airport road were ordered to evacuate their homes. In exchange they were offered a ton of cement and a small sum of money. 31 Deeming this quite an insufficient compensation and infuriated by the fact, that the casinos on the other side of the road, loathsome symbols of the privileges of the powerful, were to remain, the inhabitants did not evacuate. When bulldozers were approaching, the whole suburb of Jaramanā, inhabitants from the Palestinian camp of Jaramanā and also inhabitants from villages nearby were mobilized. Large numbers of protesters (eyewitnesses spoke of several thousand) marched to the endangered houses, women and little children stood in front of bulldozers, in short, an Intifāḍa was imminent. The casino al-Andalus next to the site of protest was completely burned down by the protesters. The confrontation lasted from the morning to the early evening of May 6, when the governor of Rural Damascus arrived on the scene and in the name of Sulṭān Pasha entreated the demonstrators to keep the peace. The president and the government, he said, comprehended the sorrows of the people. In the evening victory was celebrated in Jaramanā. Months later, honorable heads of families still joyfully related how the men had danced dabka on the streets and sung battle songs. Druze identity and self-assurance were expressed in verses like “What happened in al-Jaramanā happened under the patronage of our Pasha Sulṭān; what motivated us, was love of our fatherland (waṭan); ask for us in the Ḥawrān, ask for us in Lebanon, on the airport-road the party of fire was fighting and no house fell, thanks to the Druzes”.

Here again the double-function of Sulṭān al-Aṭrash as a symbol both of the political correctness (being invoked in the official's speech) and of the self-assurance of the group emerges. The funeral of the victim of Jaramanā, a Druze, became a public spectacle. Again thousands of people were reported to have watched the burial rites on the Druze public funeral place of Jaramanā. Again, all the Druze reports placed great emphasis on the fact that many in the audience, as had reportedly been many of the protesters, were Christians from the suburb and Sunni Muslims from the Palestinian camp. Speakers included a shaykh al-῾aql from al-Suwaydā', the local Ba῾th party secretary, and the wife of Khālid Bakdāsh, chairman of the official communist party. No Druzes except family members of the victim came up from al-Suwaydā', although the police obviously feared something of the sort and put up road controls at the Southern highways.

In November 2000, the year Ḥāfiz al-Asad had died and his son Bashār took over, incidents reminiscent of the Jabal's history a century ago happened. Local bedouins, hard pressed by three years of drought, had led their herds of sheep and goats into agricultural lands, namely the small scale fruit plantations (bustāns) the province is known for. The Jabal is the primary wine producer of Syria. The Druze inhabitants of the village, outraged by the imminent destruction of their plantations, drove out the flocks and attacked the bedouins. The ensuing skirmishes cost the lives of five to ten people, all Druzes, and 150 to 200 persons were injured, mostly Druzes, owing to the great number of illegal smuggled firearms in the hands of the bedouins. A donkey was thrown on a Druze cemetery, the Druzes were accused of burning down a mosque. Old feuds between Ḥawrānis and Druzes came to the fore, now expressed as Sunni-Druze clashes. The Druzes claimed to have protected the Christian villages in the Jabal, which had been attacked by Sunnis. The governor's office was burned down. 32

Soon tanks rolled down to the province and troops were stationed there. As many times before, when a conflict arose in the area, the main road linking al-Suwaydā' with Damascus was closed. The province sent a petition to Bashār al-Asad, then only a few months in office, ensuring him of their support and asking for protection. Druze university students demonstrated in Damascus, demanding government support for their people. Outside observers foresaw a new Druze revolt against the new regime of Bashār al-Asad. In Syria old fears were awakened in the capital. Eventually president Bashār al-Asad called shaykh al-'aql Ḥasan al-Jarbū῾a on the phone. Not the governor, nor the secretary of the Ba῾th party, nor a chief of the Aṭrash clan — it has become the official function for the shuyūkh al-῾aql to represent the Druze community vis-à-vis the regime.

But the start was not a good one between the province and the new president. Inhabitants of al-Suwaydā' complain that the province was economically neglected during the past decade. The only domain where the state was very active was in controlling the villages with its secret police. Intellectual life stagnated, discussions on history or reform, even within the Druze faith, were aborted. The conservative religious leaders as well as traditional clan leaders and their patronage systems were encouraged by the regime on all levels, despite the nationalist and secular program of the Ba῾th declaring to abolish all tribal and religious affiliations. The young fled the province even more than in the decades before, either to Damascus or overseas to Latin America and other destinations, leading to a veritable brain-drain. 33 Individuals joined the ranks of the opposition, and many have been arrested. Their activities are being condemned by both their own leaders and the regime. 34

The Druzes in the Civil War, 2011/12

  1. Top of page
  2. The Druze Community in Syria
  3. The Historical Roots of Druze Identity in Syria: A Tradition of Rebellion
  4. Contesting space: The political discourse of the Ba῾th regime and the legacy of Sulṭān Pasha al-Aṭrash
  5. Recent “Druze Revolts”
  6. The Druzes in the Civil War, 2011/12

In the civil war that followed the peaceful revolution of Syrian citizens, al-Jaramanā was reported to try to keep neutral between the forces of the Free Syrian Army coming from the Ghūṭa, the outskirts of Damascus into the city, and the regime. Negotiations were being conducted by the religious shaykh of al-Jaramanā, who argued, for example, that “the Druzes are the hosts of the Christians and ῾Alawites in al-Jaramanā and according to traditional hospitality have the obligation to protect them” — which is why they needed to remain neutral and could not let the fighters of the Free Army use al-Jaramanā for strikes against the regime. 35 The quarter was the site of several major car bombs, punishment for treason, as the rebels reported. Its position on the airport road makes it strategically important.

Bashār al-Asad had stout supporters for his regime especially among the religious leaders of the Druzes (just as from the Christian clergy of Syria), who have seen him as a guarantee against Islamist persecution from the side of the Sunni majority in Syria. He visited al-Suwaydā' after the outbreak of the revolution in March 2011, letting himself be cheered by the religious shaykhs. Bashār al-Asad also tried to use this Druze support against the position of Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jounblat who turned the Progressive Socialist Party in Lebanon against him. Jounblat has been encouraging a Druze militia and seeks to also organize Syria's other minorities for post-Asad times. The Druzes of the Golan are also supporting in their majority the opposition forces. 36 Sons and daughters of small and big families in the Jabal are to be found among the secular opposition in Damascus.

Yet, the Druzes are a small group in Syria, not numbering more than around 700 000 people. Given the increasingly sectarian nature of the war, with religious propaganda calling for the “slaughter” of especially the ῾Alawites, the fears of the religious leaders in the Jabal are not without foundation even if the Druzes are not as much a target of revenge and hatred as the ῾Alawites are. It is in such possibly existential situations that the religious shaykhs have traditionally come to the fore to try to ensure the survival of the group. It is not surprising therefore that it was the religious leaders who were arguing for accepting weapons from the regime in order to defend the Jabal against attacks, especially from the Ḥawrān, where sectarian propaganda had started right after the initial protests in its capital Der'a, in March 2011. A Sunni imam could be heard on YouTube denouncing the neighboring Druzes, slandering their women (who don't veil in the strict sense) as prostitutes, calling for jihād and finally naming a Ḥawrāni chief from the Khalīl clan the leader of the 1925 revolution against the French, not the Druze chief Sulṭān al-Aṭrash. 37 History lives on in the present for sure.

Yet, in an explosive situation like the present one, and given the long history of feuds and clashes between the two neighbors, great numbers of arms in the hands of men could easily go off into full-blown war, as argued secular intellectuals in al-Suwaydā': The Druzes would be doing the job the regime wants of them, all neutrality gone, they said.

Tribalism, confessionalism and Islamism were the spectres which had been both tabooed and skilfully instrumentalised by the regime of the Asads and the Ba῾th ideology for 40 years. Moreover, ethnicity has been an almost tabooed concept in scholarship on Syria, especially in the US, in the last decades. Now it is haunting Syria. It would have been wiser to acknowledge difference and admit group identities into the public discourse, thereby creating a viable nation and resolving community tensions through political bargaining, not by hushing and smothering them with an intolerant Arab nationalism.

The Syrians have been historically known for their tolerance and pragmatism in living and trading together. It can only be hoped that some of these traits will survive the bloody conflict. Whether Syria follows the Lebanese model of strong groups with outside sponsors in a weak state or breaks up into fiefdoms under the control of warlords with no viable state in an ongoing civil war involving bloody revenge for quite some time, in both scenarios tribalism, confessionalism, and ethnicity will loom large.

Footnotes
  1. 1

    This article draws on my earlier research on the Jabal Druze in Syria in the 1990's. My last visit to al-Suwaydā' was in April 2011, just after the outbreak of the protests in neighboring Der'ā. See B. Schäbler, Aufstände im Drusenbergland. Ethnizität und Integration einer ländlichen Gesellschaft Syriens vom Osmanischen Reich bis zur staatlichen Unabhängigkeit (Gotha: Perthes, 1996 ); an Arabic version of the book appeared in 2003: Intifāḍāt jabal al-durūz-Ḥawrān min al-῾ahd al-῾uthmānī ila daulat al-istiqlāl 1860–1949. Dirasa antrubūlūjiyya-tāriīkhiyya (Beirut/Würzburg: Dār al-Nahār/Ergon, 2003 ), Beiruter Texte und Studien, vol. 92, Orient Institute Beirut.

  2. 2

    See my State(s) power and the Druzes: Integration and the struggle for social control (1838–1949)” in The Syrian Land: Processes of Integration and Fragmentation. Bilad al-Sham from the 18th to the 20th century, eds. T. Philipp and B. Schaebler (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1998) 331367 .

  3. 3

    For example the qaṣīda “Yā Jabal ῾Ilmak Jabalnā”, “Oh mountain we know you as our mountain”, courtesy of Kathleen Hood. See also her Music in Druze Life: Ritual, Values and Performance Practice, with an introduction by A. J. Racy. Druze Heritage Foundation, 2007.

  4. 4

    The villages of the Jabal have been heavily influenced by emigration to Latin America. The houses rich emigrants build for themselves back home are multi-story hacienda-style buildings, with red tile roofs and arched gallerias. Houses in the neighboring Ḥawrān villages are mostly straight concrete structures.

  5. 5

    B. Schaebler, “Identity, Power and Piety: The Case of the Druzes in Syria”, in ISIM International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World Newsletter, 7,1 (2001), 25 .

  6. 6

    The letters from the private archive of the Ṭarabih family were kindly made available to me by Muḥammad Ṭarabih. It becomes evident from the letters that there were many discussions and memoranda about the Druze faith and what constituted Druzedom.

  7. 7

    For a detailed analysis of the mashyakha-system see B. Schaebler, “State(s) Power and the Druzes” in T. Philipp & B. Schaebler , The Syrian Land , and B. Schäbler, Aufstände im Drusenbergland, 43106 .

  8. 8

    B. Schaebler, “From Urban Notables to Noble Arabs: Shifting Discourses in the Emergence of Nationalism in the Arab East (1910–1916),” in T. Philipp , C. Schumann (eds.), From the Syrian Land to the States of Syria and Lebanon (Beirut, Wuerzburg: Ergon, 2004), 175198 .

  9. 9

    Khayr al-Dīn al-Ziriklī, Muqqadima, in Karīm Khalīl Thābit, al-Duruz wa῾l-thawrat al-suriyya wa-sīrat Sulṭān Bāshā al-Aṭrash (The Druzes and the Syrian Revolution and the Life of Sulṭān Pasha al-Aṭrash) (Cairo 1925), 1 .

  10. 10

    Sa῾īd al-Sughayyir, Banū Ma῾rūf fī'l-tārīkh, (al-Qurayya 1984 ); Yūsuf Salīm al-Dubaysī, Ahl al-tawḥīd “al-durūz”wa khaṣā'iṣ madhahibihim al-dīniyya wa'l-ijtimā῾iyya (“the Unitarians ‘the Druzes’ and the religious and societal specificities of their religious community”), 5 vol. (Beirut 1992). The book developed out of MA and Ph.D. studies at Cairo University and was allowed on the Syrian book market.

  11. 11

    For texts of the proclamations see Amīn Sa῾īd, Al-thawrat al-῾arabiyya al-kubrā, tārīkh mufaṣṣal li-l-qaḍiyyat al-῾arabiyya fī rub῾qarn (History of the Great Arab Revolt; encompassing, detailed history of the Arab cause in a quarter century), (Cairo 1933), 311316, 353–56.

  12. 12

    Munīr al-Rayyis, Al-kitāb al-dhahabī li-l-thawrāt al-waṭaniyya fi'l-mashriq al-῾arabī; al-thawrat al-sūriyya al-kubrā, (Beirut: 1936), 201 .

  13. 13

    Older accounts, based on interviews with leading politicians, attributed this internal movement solely to president Quwwatlī's instigations. P. Seale, The Struggle for Syria (London: Oxford University Press, 1965), 133 . See chapter five “The sha῾biyya” in my Aufstände im Drusenbergland, 263–298 and “State(s) Power and the Druzes” in The Syrian Land.

  14. 14

    P. Seale, Struggle for Syria, 132 .

  15. 15

    J. Landis, “Shishakli and the Druzes: Integration and Intransigence”, in T. Philipp & B. Schaebler , The Syrian Land, 369395 .

  16. 16

    Conversations with Manṣūr al-Aṭrash in the early 1990's; M. van Dusen, “Political integration and regionalism in Syria”, in MEI, 26,2 (1972), 123136, 129f.

  17. 17

    Quoted from N. van Dam, The Struggle for Power in Syria. Politics and Society under Asad and the Ba'th Party, (London: I.B. Tauris 1996), 59 . This is the classic work on tribalism and confessionalism within the Ba'th party; the expanded latest edition appeared 2011, including a summary of the autobiography of Manṣūr al-Aṭrash, Al-jīl al-mud'an. Sīrat dhātiya. Min awrāq Manṣūr al-Aṭrash, ed. Rīm Manṣūr al-Aṭrash , (Beirut: 2008).

  18. 18

    R. Hinnebusch, Authoritarian Power and State Formation in Ba'thist Syria: Army, Party and Peasant (Boulder: Westview Press 1990), 1 .

  19. 19

    See V. Perthes, Syria under Bashār al-Asad: Modernisation and the Limits of Change (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006).

  20. 20

    Ba῾th Party Constitution, section Ill, article 2; text in A. Raymond, La Syrie d'aujourd'hui (Paris: Edition du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique:1980), 210 .

  21. 21

    Ulrike Freitag, “In Search of ‘Historical Correctness’: The Ba῾th Party in Syria” in Middle Eastern Studies, 35/1 (1999), 116 .

  22. 22

    This story is bordering on the jokes that were accompanying the pervasive official Asad cult. On the cult and the ways ordinary people subverted the idealized presentations of the regime of Ḥāfiz al-Asad, thereby themselves reproducing the symbolic power of the regime, see L. Wedeen, Ambiguities of Domination. Politics, Rhetoric, and Symbols in Contemporary Syria (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press 1999), 120132 .

  23. 23

    See H. G. Lobmeyer, “Islamic ideology and secular discourse: the Islamists in Syria” in Orient, 32, 1991, 395418 ; T. Mayer, “The Islamic opposition in Syria”, in ibid, 24, 1983, 589609 .

  24. 24

    He received all ranks of visitors from near and far in his village al-Qurayya, patiently recounting the tales of revolution. After returning from exile, he rejected political office throughout his lifetime, leaving the more mundane tasks of politics to his cousins of the al-Suwaydā' branch of the Aṭrash clan. His autobiography, written down by two young intellectuals of the Jabal had to appear unauthorized in a Beirut journal, since his son Manṣūr did not want to have them published in this form, not finding the manuscript sophisticated enough. Another unauthorized version appeared in Israel.

  25. 25

    See B. Schaebler, “Coming to Terms with Failed Revolutions: Historiography in Syria, Germany and France” in Middle Eastern Studies, 35, 1 (January 1999), 1744 .

  26. 26

    Conversations with Manṣūr al-Aṭrash in the early 1990s; also “Wāqi῾a al-durūz fī'l-thawrat al-sūriyya: bayna al-khawf wa'l-dawr al-tārīkhī”, (“The situation of the Druzes in the Syrian revolution between fear and historical role”), 13 November 2011, signed Sa῾dū Rāfī῾ — Sūrī (a Syrian), http://www.al-sham.net/1yabbse2/index.php?topic=32881.0, accessed on 16 October 2012.

  27. 27

    The manuscript of the speech was made available to me by courtesy of Manṣūr al-Aṭrash through his daughter Rīm.

  28. 28

    Prescript by President Ḥāfiz al-Asad in Ḥasan al-Bu῾aynī, Sulṭān Bāshā al-Aṭrash, masīrat qā'id fī tārīkh umma (Life of a leader in the history of a nation) (Beirut,1985).

  29. 29

    The letter was courteously made available to me.

  30. 30

    Quoted from a report from an anonymous inhabitant of Jaramanā in Niḍāl al-sha῾b (People's Struggle), 12 August 1993.

  31. 31

    Niḍāl al-sha῾b (People's Struggle), 13 May 1993.

  32. 32

    There were no official reports on the incident which was, however, known all over Syria. See recently ῾Imād Bilān, “Fitnat al-ghanam wa'l-shajara”, (The strife of sheep and tree), 16 April 2011, www.swaidaplus.com/news/print.php?type=N&item_id=317, accessed 17 August 2012.

  33. 33

    On Druze migrations see Cyril Roussel, Les Druzes de Syrie. Territoire et mobilité, Beyrouth: Presses de l'Ifpo, 2011 .

  34. 34

    “Wāqi'at al-durūz”.

  35. 35

    „ Asrār al-istihdāf al-mutakarrir lī'Jaramanā”, (Secrets of the decided attack on Jaramanā) 30 October 2012, http://www.gazire.com/cms/news-action-show-id-14046.htm, signed “al-ḥaqīqa” (“the truth”), accessed 2 November 2012.

  36. 36

    “Durūz al-Jaulān yad῾amūna al-ḥirāk”, (“The Druzes of the Golan support the movements”), November 7 2012, http://www.azzaman.com/?p=17458, accessed 10 November 2012.

  37. 37