At least 17 people have been killed and over 40 others received injuries in clashes between armed residents and supporters of the government security forces in the southern province of Suweida.
Reports said ten people loyal to the government and seven local fighters died over two days fighting in the two villages in the Druze-majority province.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said that tensions had been rising since Monday, after the abduction of two people close to the local armed groups.
It also said that more than 40 people, including civilians, were wounded in the incident.
Druze had remained mostly shielded from the deadly war that ruined the country in the past several years.
“Druze, who made up around four percent of Syria’s pre-war population, have largely kept out of the country’s civil war since it started in 2011, although Suweida province has seen anti-regime demonstrations and activism,” SOHR said in a statement.
A local activist Rayan Maarouf said that people in Suweida become frustrated at government-backed fighters for carrying out illegal detention and kidnapping for ransom.
The report said that clashes ended after armed residents surrounded the village headquarters of the pro-regime group, who are blamed for the kidnappings.
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