Palestine

Arabs, Druze protest Israel nation-state law

Tens of thousands of marched in Tel Aviv to protest Israel's new "nation-state law," which officially establishes Israel as "the national home of the Jewish people" and downgrades the Arabic language from official to "special" standing. The march, led by Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel, follows a similar mobilization in Tel Aviv one week earlier by members of Israel's Druze community. Both rallies filled the city's Rabin Square. Under the banner "Abolish Nation-state Law – Yes to Equality," the Arab-led march was organized by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and allied groups. In a joint statement, participating organizations said the Nationality Law "will turn racism, discrimination, humiliation and segregation into an inseparable part of our lives…. Our statement is clear: All citizens—all of them—are equal." (Photo: Druze elders from the Golan Heights, via LookLex)

Syria

Druze women and children abducted by ISIS

During the wave of coordinated ISIS attacks that left 250 dead in Syria’s regime-held southern governorate of Suweida, the militants also went door-to-door in Druze villages, abducting some 35 women and children. The militants are believed to have escaped with them into their remaining strongholds in Syria’s eastern desert. The attack wave followed visits by Russian military delegations to Suweida, during which Druze elders were urged to cooperate in disarming the populace. This was apparently aimed at suppressing the Rijal al-Karama (Men of Dignity), a Druze self-defense militia that had emerged over the past years of violence in Syria. The ISIS assault came immediately after regime weapons seizures in Druze villages, leading to theories of regime complicity in the attacks. (Photo via Syria Call)

Syria

Syria endgame: whither Idlib?

With the fall of Syria’s southern province of Daraa to Assad regime forces, only Idlib in the north remains as a last pocket of opposition control. The besieged rebel forces there are anticipating a final offensive by Assad and his Russian backers. But a complicating factor is that Turkey is occupying areas of Idlib, which means an offensive there threatens international escalation. Speaking to reporters before heading for a summit of emerging market countries in South Africa, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would speak there with Vladimir Putin about how to resolve “the issue of Idlib.” This points to a possible carve-up deal, in which the bulk of Syria falls under Assad with Russian protection, Idlib remains under rebel control with Turkish protection, and the northeastern Rojava region will remain a Kurdish autonomous zone under US protection. (Photo: Syria News)

Greater Middle East

Israel denies backing Nusra after Golan lynching

Druze villagers in the Golan killed a wounded Syrian fighter seized from an IDF ambulance—in mistaken belief he was from Nusra Front, which has massacred Syrian Druze.

Greater Middle East
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Photo: GJEC

With the fall of Syria's southern province of Daraa to Assad regime forces, only Idlib in the north remains as a last pocket of opposition control. The besieged rebel forces there are anticipating a final offensive by Assad and his Russian backers. But a complicating factor is that Turkey is occupying areas of Idlib, which means an offensive there threatens international escalation. Speaking to reporters before heading for a summit of emerging market countries in South Africa, Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would speak there with Vladimir Putin about how to resolve "the issue of Idlib." This points to a possible carve-up deal, in which the bulk of Syria falls under Assad with Russian protection, Idlib remains under rebel control with Turkish protection, and the northeastern Rojava region will remain a Kurdish autonomous zone under US protection. (Photo: Syria News)