A Druze leader was killed in a vehicle bomb attack in the southern Syrian city of As-Suwayda, local sources reported on Friday.
Syria’s official news agency SANA earlier said eight people had been killed and 22 wounded.
Days before Balous was killed, Sweida residents had gathered in the city to demand more regular government services, including electricity and water.
He died in an explosions that went off near the National Hospital in Sweida and also reportedly killed his brother.
Speaking to ARA News, Druze activist Izzat Salloum said the attacks were aimed at hitting the Druze minority in southern Syria “by killing a prominent leader like Sheikh Wahid al-Balous”. “Another 50 people are wounded”, said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights yesterday.
Sheikh Youssef Jarbu, a top Druze cleric, told the pro-government “Sham FM” radio that the aim of the blasts is to frame the Syrian authorities and create a gap between the people of Swaida and the Syrian government. He was known for his opposition to both Assad and the Islamic State extremists who have taken over a third of the country but was a strong supporter of the rebels trying to topple Assad. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blasts. The killing threatened to inflame tensions in the province.