Public Reconciliation after 20 Die in Syrian Provincial Clashes
A public reconciliation ceremony will be held Friday between Druze farmers in Syria's southern Suweida region and nomadic shepherds after clashes that left 20 people dead, a leading local figure said Monday.
The ceremony will bring together leaders of both sides, with representatives of the government and the ruling Baath party presiding, he said.
In addition, the authorities have paid 350,000 Syrian pounds (7,000 dollars) to each of the people killed in the fighting last month, as well as between 100,000 and 200,000 pounds to the some 40 people hurt.
They have also rebuilt houses burned down in feuding that was sparked on when the bedouin shepherds brought their flocks on to agricultural lands Nov.6.
Four shepherds were killed and 16 Druze, the source contacted from Damascus said. Most of those hurt were also Druze, he added, saying that the bedouins were heavily armed.
"The borders are not sealed and the bedouins of Syria are able to obtain guns through their links with others in Jordan and Saudi Arabia," the source said.
He added that one of the shepherds had tried to burn down a mosque with the aim of having blame placed on the Druze, but he had been arrested before he could carry out the plan.
The Syrian army intervened in the clashes and several arrests were made, sources said at the time -- DAMASCUS (AFP)
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