World

Lebanese Druze leader tries to calm fears after deadly attack in Syrian Druze village

  • Walid Jumblatt, the political leader of Lebanon's minority Druze sect, center background, stands with clerics shortly after a meeting of the Druze community's religious leadership in Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, June 12, 2015. Lebanon’s political leader of the Druze community says this week’s attack in northwestern Syria by al-Qaida’s branch that many members of the sect dead was an individual incident. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

    Walid Jumblatt, the political leader of Lebanon's minority Druze sect, center background, stands with clerics shortly after a meeting of the Druze community's religious leadership in Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, June 12, 2015. Lebanon’s political leader of the Druze community says this week’s attack in northwestern Syria by al-Qaida’s branch that many members of the sect dead was an individual incident. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)  (The Associated Press)

  • Druze clerics taking part in a meeting of the sect's religious leadership in Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, June 12, 2015. Lebanon’s political leader of the Druze community says this week’s attack in northwestern Syria by al-Qaida’s branch that many members of the sect dead was an individual incident. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

    Druze clerics taking part in a meeting of the sect's religious leadership in Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, June 12, 2015. Lebanon’s political leader of the Druze community says this week’s attack in northwestern Syria by al-Qaida’s branch that many members of the sect dead was an individual incident. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)  (The Associated Press)

  • Walid Jumblatt, the political leader of Lebanon's minority Druze sect, center background, stands with clerics shortly after a meeting of the Druze community's religious leadership in Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, June 12, 2015. Lebanon’s political leader of the Druze community says this week’s attack in northwestern Syria by al-Qaida’s branch that many members of the sect dead was an individual incident. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

    Walid Jumblatt, the political leader of Lebanon's minority Druze sect, center background, stands with clerics shortly after a meeting of the Druze community's religious leadership in Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, June 12, 2015. Lebanon’s political leader of the Druze community says this week’s attack in northwestern Syria by al-Qaida’s branch that many members of the sect dead was an individual incident. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)  (The Associated Press)

Lebanon's political leader of the Druze community is trying to calm members of Syria's minority sect after a deadly al-Qaida raid there killed as many as 20 Druze villagers.

Walid Jumblatt says the attack earlier this week on Qalb Lawzeh village in Idlib province was an "individual" incident. Syria's al-Qaida branch, the Nusra Front, killed at least 20 Druze members there.

Jumblatt spoke after meeting of the Druze religious leadership in Beirut on Friday.

The Idlib killings were the deadliest since Syria's civil war started in March 2011 against the minority Druze sect, which has been split between supporters and opponents of President Bashar Assad — but has largely stayed out of the fighting.

Jumblatt, a harsh critic of Assad, warned that any incitement "will endanger the Druze of Syria."