Israel is exploring the possibility of setting up a buffer zone along the Syrian border as a safe haven for Druze refugees fleeing the civil war, Israeli media reported on Sunday.
The Hebrew Walla! news website reported on Sunday that Israel has made initial contacts with various bodies, including several states and sources in the United Nations and the Red Cross, amid fear for a massacre of Druze by extremist Islamic organizations fighting in Syria.
An anonymous Israeli source told Walla news that Israel does not intend to take in the Druze refugees into its territory, but that “as a people who have experienced the holocaust, we cannot ignore the possibility of a massacre of the Druze minority.”
The website also reported that members of the Druze community have held talks with Israeli defense sources and asked the officials to assist in arming the Druze in Syria. The defense establishment refused to comment on the report.
The Ha’aretz daily reported over the weekend that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey to boost the U.S. aid to Druze fighting in Syria, during the latter’s visit to Israel.
A deadly raid by the Al-Qaida branch in Syria known as the Nusra front left 20 Druze villagers dead on an attack in Syria’s Idlib province amid the ongoing civil war in the country.
The Druze are a small Arab sect in the Middle East, based primarily in Lebanon, Syria and Israel, which broke off Islam in the 11th century. There are nearly 140,000 Druze living in Israel, who maintain familial and cultural ties with their fellows in Syria and Lebanon.
Thousands of Druze Israelis held protest over the weekend calling the Israeli government to open its borders to their brethren from Syria, the Ynet news website report.
Moreover, Channel 10 news reported on Saturday that members of an official Druze Council sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon to do anything they can to prevent a “Druze holocaust” by Islamic extremists. Enditem