Israeli Druze mourn death of Syrian regime general
Hundreds in Majdal Shams honor top Assad commander, blamed for death of US journalist and French photographer
Members of the Israeli Druze community in the Golan Heights held a memorial procession Sunday in honor of a senior Syrian general killed in combat last week, the Ynet website reported.
Issam Zahreddine, a Druze major-general in the Syrian army, was killed last week in an explosion during fighting in Syria’s east. He was buried Friday in the Sweida region in Syria.
The next day hundreds took part in a procession through the Druze town of Majdal Shams, that lies in Israeli territory on the border with Syria, Ynet reported.
One of the organizers later told Ynet that Zahreddine had sacrificed his life on behalf of the citizens of Syria, and described him as a martyr.
Zahreddine was accused in the 2012 deaths of US journalist Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik.
With his handlebar mustache and bushy grey beard, the 56-year-old general was a recognizable figure in Syria and had a cult following among diehard supporters of the regime.
Involved in the early days of the repression of a 2011 revolt against the regime of President Bashar Assad, he led the battle that expelled rebels from Syria’s third city of Homs five years ago.
n a lawsuit filed in the US in 2016, Colvin’s family alleged that her death was the result of shelling of the media center where she and Ochlik were, in a plan “formulated at the highest levels of the Syrian government.”
“The plan was executed by Syrian military forces under the command of Major General Issam Zahreddine of the Syrian Republican Guard,” it alleged.
AFP contributed to this report.