Balous invokes legacy of Sultan al-Atrash, leader of the 1925 revolt against the French.
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A fiery 15 minutes of anti-regime polemic by a midlevel Syrian Druze sheikh which emerged on YouTube this week has sparked an unprecedented level of tension in the southern province of SwaidaRegime officials are believed to be incensed by the decision, taken in 2013 by Druze religious figures, forbidding members of the sect to take up arms outside their province, as the majority of conscription-age Druze continue to avoid military service.These include a battle between Druze locals and Nusra Front-allied fighters in the village of Dama last August, which saw 42 Druze fighters killed, and armed confrontations in the province of Qunaitra, also home to many Druze, against rebel groups.The most powerful criticism, however, is directed at President Bashar Assad and Col. Wafiq Nasser, believed to be the top security official in Swaida province.The militia released three female Druze hostages it had held since storming the suburb of Adra more than a year ago, as a salute to the relentlessly anti-regime stances of Qassem on TV and social media.
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