MAJDAL SHAMS, Israel — The Druze are commonly believed to comprise less than 3 percent of the population of Syria. But with a history of military and political achievement much greater than their numbers, they have disproportionate importance.
A fragile cease-fire has taken hold in Syria, with regime forces halting widespread attacks on the opposition. There were reports of isolated gunfire and shelling, but the relative quiet represents the first brief lull in weeks of bloodshed, opposition activists said.
Activists expect protesters to return to the streets in "huge numbers" if the cease-fire holds, and said that even if tanks are withdrawn "shabiha," civilian militias aligned with the government, could retaliate.
DAMASCUS — Since nominally agreeing on March 26 to pull security forces out of urban areas by Tuesday, the government of President Bashar al-Assad has only escalated its assaults, killing more than 1,000.