The son of a Syrian Druze leader has accused Iran and Hezbollah of being responsible for the killing of his father, the founder of the anti-Assad regime Men of Dignity movement, in a bomb attack in September 2015.
Speaking to opposition TV in the government-controlled city of Al-Suqayda in southern Syria, Sheikh Laith al-Balous said Iran and Hezbollah had assassinated not only his father Sheikh Wahid Al-Balous but a number of the movement’s other leaders in the Zhahr Al-Jabal region.
Al-Balous said: “Iran and Hezbollah’s actions in this area are a major factor contributing to the sectarian crisis between the people of Al-Suwayda and Daraa governorates, and the Bedouins, who live scattered among the surrounding villages.”
He described the role played by Iran and Iran-backed militias as “evil”, saying they promoted drug trafficking and kidnappings. Hezbollah in particular, he claimed, had flooded the area with drugs and promoted their wares in cooperation with local criminal gangs.
“The Syrian government’s security services have [also] supported gangs involved in kidnapping and robbery in the governorate,” he said, “and have also facilitated their activities by granting them security cards.”
Abu Fahd Wahid al-Balous was of the Druze community’s most important leaders and opposed members of the sect being recruited by the Al-Assad regime in the Syrian civil war. His primarily Druze armed movement, the Men of Dignity, had clashed with state and Iran-backed forces on several occasions. He was killed by a car bomb in September 4.
Syria’s southern region is of strategic importance to Iran, which has at least 32 military bases between Daraa, Al-Suwayda, and Al-Quneitrah. The Islamic Republic wants to establish a foothold near the border with Israel and has spent years building up allies locally, under different guises.
Laith al-Balous said the people of Al-Suwayda governorate were not satisfied with the situation and would not accept any attempt to partition or federalize Syria on sectarian lines. He added that the Syrian government’s shrinking ability to protect locals from external aggression was “evident by the fact that the regime has withdrawn several times when ISIS attacked the villages surrounding Al-Suwayda”. Meanwhile, he added, government forces had been unable to secure “the most basic necessities” for civilian life.
Source » trackpersia