Rafat al-Bal'us speech
bayraq al-maqdad insignia
Druze figure takes up assassinated brother’s mantle, Now
BEIRUT – Rafaat Balaous has taken over the leadership of Suweida’s Druze Sheikhs of Dignity movement, issuing a fiery statement blaming the Bashar al-Assad regime for the assassination of his brother Waheed.
“This cowardly operation that targeted one of the symbols of the homeland was carried out with intelligence agency planning at the highest of levels,” Rafaat Balaous said in reference to the September 4 car bombing that killed Waheed. (...)
Despite the accusations he leveled against the Syrian regime, Rafaat Balaous stressed that the Sheikhs of Dignity movement is independent and not on the side of the opposition.
“We are not [regime] supporters or opposition. We are Arab nationalist patriots. Or rather, we are humanitarians,” the preamble of his statement said.Edit: In the meanwhile Aymenn al-Tamimi published a very good analysis at Syria Comment (I'm briefly cited as well). Aymenn clears up some points and additionally translated the statement by Rafat al-Bal'us.
“We forbid transgressions by us and we forbid transgressions against us. This was the plan of our pious ancestors,” he added.
Balaous also stressed that his movement was “not a secessionist project.”
The Druze figure, who is younger than his slain brother, also touched on the issue of young men from Suweida joining the Syrian army.
“Signing up with the army is a voluntary action and is not mandatory because the fighting in Syria is between the Syrians themselves,” he said. (...)