Washington, February 1, 2015. In the midst of Syrian unrest, many rush in protection of the religious sites they hold dear. Tens of men and women of the Shia faith took refuge in the suburbs of southern Damascus. As their world crumbled around them, their lives left in perish; they fought to keep the one place they could not risk losing, the shrine of Sayyida, Zainab, Prophet Mohammad’s granddaughter. Taking little side in the divided nation, Shia’s guard the site with the little they have. Shia populations from around the world have volunteered to join the shrines guards, as well. The increased international attention to the cause has provided a new target for terror.
On the first of February, a bomb placed on a tour bus holding Lebanese pilgrims detonated, killing seven and injuring 20. The bus was traveling from the shrine of Sayyida Ruqaya, in central Damuscus, to Sayyida Zainab’s shrine in the south. Sources state, a second bomb was located and dismantled by security forces before its detonation.
Al-Nusra Front, or the Front for the Defense of the Syrian People, has claimed the attack as their own.
Lack of response to such condemned acts not only encourages terror groups, it fuels sectarian violence in the area. Systematic attacks against Shia are not new to the area, but they are increasing in number and size.