6 killed in Damascus suburb bombing near shrine

People near the blast site. [Photo: Twitter]

On Thursday, a tragic incident occurred in a Damascus suburb near a Shiite Muslim shrine, just a day before the holy day of Ashoura. A motorcycle that was planted with explosives detonated, resulting in at least six people losing their lives and dozens more being injured.

The Syrian Health Minister, Hassan Al-Ghabash, confirmed that 26 of the wounded were taken to various hospitals, while 20 others received treatment on site or were discharged.

Initially, authorities believed the bomb was hidden in a taxi, but later they clarified that the explosives were actually placed on a motorcycle that exploded near the taxi.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, based in Britain, reported that one of the deceased was a woman, and her three children were among the injured. The explosion occurred in close proximity to the positions of Iranian militias, who are a significant ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, along with Russia, in the ongoing civil conflict that has been raging for 13 years.

Photographs shared by Al-Ikhbariya and pro-government media depicted the aftermath, showing a charred taxi surrounded by large crowds of people, some of whom were wearing military uniforms. Buildings in the area were adorned with Ashoura flags and banners in green, red, and black colors.

A distressing video circulated on social media, showing people carrying two men covered in blood and dust, while the glass facades of nearby shops had shattered, and one was on fire.

The neighborhood where the incident occurred is named after the shrine of Sayida Zeinab, who was the granddaughter of the Prophet Muhammad. Protecting this shrine had become a rallying point for Shiite fighters who supported Assad in the early stages of the conflict when it transformed from an anti-government uprising into a sectarian civil war.

Ashoura, which falls on the 10th day of the Islamic month of Muharram, is an extremely significant occasion for Shiite Muslims. It commemorates the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, and his 72 companions in the historic battle of Karbala in present-day Iraq. Ashoura is the peak of the mourning procession for Shiite Muslims.

This wasn’t the first incident in the Sayida Zeinab neighborhood leading up to Ashoura. Just a few days prior, on Tuesday, another motorcycle packed with explosives was detonated, resulting in two civilians being wounded, as reported by Syrian state media citing a police official.

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