Mobile  |  About us  |  Photos  |  Videos  |  Subscriptions  |  RSS Feeds  |  Today's Paper  |  Classifieds  |  Contact Us
The Daily Star
FRIDAY, 25 APR 2014
03:17 AM Beirut time
22 °C
Blom Index
Middle East
Follow this story Print RSS Feed ePaper share this
Uprising’s first Druze defector declared dead
Zeineddine defected in late 2011, when the rebel flag had yet to be universally adopted. Youtube grab
Zeineddine defected in late 2011, when the rebel flag had yet to be universally adopted. Youtube grab
A+ A-

BEIRUT: The first army defector from the southern province of Swaida was declared dead Wednesday, after having led a battle against regime forces earlier in the month.

The Facebook page of the Revolutionary Military Council for Swaida said that Khaldoun Zeineddine, the leader of the Sultan Pasha al-Atrash Battalion of the Free Syrian Army, had been “martyred,” along with an undisclosed number of his comrades.

The battle took place in the region of Dahr al-Jabal near Swaida, a majority-Druze province. Syrian State Television had earlier declared Zeineddine dead, but aired footage of the battle that was disputed by anti-regime activists because the images had been used in a report on rebel casualties in another, earlier battle.

The R.M.C. has advised the public that its Facebook page should be considered the only authoritative source of information on rebel activities in Swaida.

Facebook pages representing activists in Swaida paid tribute to the late Zeineddine as a tireless supporter of the uprising.

A source familiar with the issue told The Daily Star that Zeineddine defected in Damascus in the fall of 2011, and joined up with anti-regime rebels in the Ghouta region near the capital.

Shortly afterward, Zeineddine relocated to the southern province of Hawran, which borders Swaida, and formed an F.S.A. battalion bearing the name of the Druze leader of the 1925 Syrian revolt against France.

“Most of his activity with the rebels was in the Hawran region,” the source said. “His reason for defecting was simply that he had been ordered to fire on civilian protesters.”

The news item published on the Facebook page was accompanied by a short YouTube video of Zeineddine’s brother, Fadl, also a first lieutenant who defected from the army, who read the announcement.

Fadl Zeineddine said the battle on Jan. 11 represented the “beginning of battles to liberate this province,” and also addressed the people of Swaida.

“Our battle is with the criminal regime, and you are not a party to [this battle]. We advise you to not stand in our way, but rather aid us, as we confront this tyrant,” he said. “Do not aid the regime as it seeks to stoke sectarianism.”

“Our revolution is for all Syrians, and for all [religious] sects,” he concluded.

The Druze-majority province has been relatively quiet throughout the Syrian uprising, while it has also hosted thousands of displaced people from other provinces, especially Hawran.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 24, 2013, on page 8.
Home Middle East
Free Syrian Army / Swaida / Khaldoun Zeineddine / Syria

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
More from
Marlin Dick
Swaida tries to remain neutral as rockets hit city
Mashayekh mutiny? Swaida security chief ousted
Campaign rally causes tension in Swaida
Kasab vs. #Kessab, and propaganda on Syria’s coast
Fear and loathing descending on Latakia

Baabda 2014
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Linked In Follow us on Google+ Subscribe to our Live Feed
Pictures of the day
A selection of images from around the world- Thursday April 24, 2014
View all view all
Rami G. Khouri
Rami G. Khouri
Israel shows Zionism’s true colors
Michael Young
Michael Young
For Christians, blessed are the dividers
David Ignatius
David Ignatius
An Iran deal is close, but we’re not there yet
View all view all
Click to View Articles
Privacy Policy | Anti-Spamming Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright Notice
© 2014 The Daily Star - All Rights Reserved - Designed and Developed By IDS