Druze seek refuge with Balaus against military service

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Approximately 100 young men from Suwayda province escaped their regime military service Tuesday by fleeing from their posts in the east of the province and taking refuge with the Sheikh Waheed al-Balaus at his home in al-Mazraa,reported pro-opposition Suwayda Khabar. The young men signed up for service after hearing assurances from Druze religious leader Sheikh al-Hijri earlier this month that Druze would serve only within the borders of the province. They later fled their posts after Syrian army officers treated them poorly and threatened to send them to the eastern Daraa countryside for service, according to one of the young men who spoke to Suwayda Khabar Tuesday. Earlier this month, another group of Druze young men fledfrom mandatory military service and sought refuge with Sheikh Balaus after learning they would be sent out of the province.