As is apparent from the family and middle names, many of these individuals appear to be close relatives of each other. Further, Jabhat al-Nusra claims it has only directed its arms against those who have infringed on the “blood and honour of the Muslims from the gangs of the criminal Nusayri [Alawite] army, the heretic khawarij [Islamic State] and the gangs of the corrupt ones,” while portraying itself as transparent: “the doors of Jabhat al-Nusra are open to all.” Yet the statement makes no explicit reference to Druze at all, and in talking of defending Muslims, sugarcoats the real reason why the inhabitants of this village and others in Jabal al-Summaq are officially protected.
In the latest case in Qalb Lawza, Jabhat al-Nusra seems to have tried to confiscate the home of a man living in regime-held Syria, on the grounds that he is a soldier in the regime army.
The Druze's social customs differ markedly from those of Muslims or Christians, and they are known to form a close-knit, cohesive community that does not allow anyone into, but also integrate fully in their adopted homelands.
As an ethnic and religious minority in every country they live in, they have frequently experienced persecution, except in Lebanon and Israel where Druze judges, parliamentarians, diplomats, and doctors occupy the highest echelons of society.
Even though the faith originally developed out of Ismaili Islam, Druze are not considered Muslims, although Al Azhar of Egypt recognizes them as one of the Islamic sects akin to Shiite Muslims.
Western military officials said it was the heaviest assault of the conflict to date.
Although the army held off an estimated 2,000 attackers, the analysts predicted the town would become one of two major goals of the Druze-led campaign.