The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have drawn up contingency plans to create a safe zone inside Syrian territory for Druze refugees fleeing attacks by the Islamic State or Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda, a senior IDF source has said.

Rather than allow refugees to cross into Israeli-controlled territory, the IDF would create a safe zone on the border that extends hundreds of metres into Syrian territory and use military force to protect the refugees from the hardline Sunni Islamist militants who consider Druze to be heretics.

The Druze community is spread between Lebanon, Israel, and Syria. Unlike their Israeli counterparts, the Druze who live in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights do not hold Israeli citizenship or serve in the IDF. […]