Syria’s al-Qaida branch kills 20 minority Druze villagers

BEIRUT (AP) — Al-Qaida’s affiliate in Syria has killed at least 20 villagers belonging to the minority Druze sect after a confrontation in northwestern Idlib province, where the militants have forced hundreds of members of the sect to covert to Sunni Islam, an activist group and a Syrian opposition faction said Thursday.

The killings in Idlib are the deadliest against the minority Druze sect, which has been split between supporters and opponents of President Bashar Assad, since Syria’s crisis began in March 2011.

The Druze villagers were killed Wednesday in Qalb Lawzeh village in the Jabal al-Summaq region, where Nusra Front fighters have dug up historic graves and destroyed shrines in recent months…