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Syrian Druze wary of Hezbollah, Iranian presence

Since the Syrian war erupted, Iran has been trying to gain a foothold in Syria, most recently in the south, which includes trying to win over the local Druze community.
Hezbollah and Syrian flags flutter on a military vehicle in Western Qalamoun, Syria August 28, 2017. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki - RC19B2052B90
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For months now, Lebanon's Hezbollah has been working on beefing up its presence in southern Syria, according to interviews with its fighters. The militia appears to be operating quietly, however, to avoid inflaming the local population, namely the large, esoteric Druze community. 

According to Hezbollah sources, the Dec. 1 fall of the Beit Jin front to the Syrian army, backed by Hezbollah, put an end to the presence of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other rebel groups in that strategic area on the front line with Israel and appears to have calmed the situation in southern Syria, which is also covered by the US-Russian-brokered cease-fire signed July 7 and backed by Jordan. The deal aimed at de-escalating tensions amid increasing numbers of clashes between pro-regime militias and the Syrian opposition, as well as escalating strikes by Israel on Iranian interests in the region. Russian troops in charge of monitoring the cease-fire first deployed on July 17 in Daraa governorate.

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