Rocket attack kills custodian of Bibi Zainab's shrine in Syria

Published: July 20, 2013
The Syrian government accuses rebels of targeting Sayyeda Zainab shrine, which is now protected by hundreds of fighters from Iraq and the powerful Lebanese Hezbollah group. PHOTO: AFP

The Syrian government accuses rebels of targeting Sayyeda Zainab shrine, which is now protected by hundreds of fighters from Iraq and the powerful Lebanese Hezbollah group. PHOTO: AFP

BEIRUT: A rocket strike near a Shia shrine in Damascus killed a custodian of Bibi Zainab (AS) on Friday, activists and residents said, in an attack that could inflame sectarian tensions in Syria’s 28 month old conflict.

Opposition activists and residents said shrapnel killed Anas Romani, the respected caretaker of the gold-domed Bibi Zainab (AS) shrine in the capital’s southern suburbs, a renowned pilgrimage destination for Shias from Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and beyond.

There were conflicting reports about damage to the shrine. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has a network of activists across Syria, cited sources as saying the shrine’s blue-tiled sanctuary had been hit. But a local resident told Reuters the rockets landed outside the mosque.

The Syrian government accuses rebels of targeting Sayyeda Zainab shrine, which is now protected by hundreds of fighters from Iraq and the powerful Lebanese Hezbollah group.

They have been helping Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s forces battle rebels mostly from the Sunni majority, whom they accuse of threatening Shia symbols in Syria.

The rebels say they are only attacking pro-Assad forces in the area, though many in their ranks use sectarian rhetoric against Assad’s Shia supporters.

Syria’s uprising-turned-civil war has sectarian dimensions that risk spilling over into neighboring Iraq and Lebanon, which have both suffered their own communal conflicts.

Several Syrian minorities have supported Assad, including his own Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shia sect. They say they fear the rising Sunni current in the insurgency.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has said protecting Sayyeda Zainab is vital for his group, which now openly acknowledges its involvement on Syria’s battlefields, and has threatened “grave retribution” if any harm befalls the shrine.

Note: This article has been revised to accommodate few editorial changes. 

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Reader Comments (35)

  • Rahim
    Jul 20, 2013 - 12:55AM

    Height of intolerance among the Muslim sects! O Lord Mercy…. (Sighhhhhhhhh)


  • Sara
    Jul 20, 2013 - 1:46AM

    I think the heading should be “Shrine of Prophet’s (SAW) Grand daughter rather than Shia Muslim shrine! This is how we create sectarian lines.


  • Aktar
    Jul 20, 2013 - 5:59AM

    The Arabs are taking their local Sunnia-Shia conflict spreading throughout the world.


  • Rafidi
    Jul 20, 2013 - 6:01AM

    And then they get upset when Hezbollah makes its presence felt on the battlefields of Syria. Perhaps if the FSA idiots stop shelling the shrines of the Ahl-e-Bait then maybe Hezbollah might not feel the need to give them a beating of epic proportions.


  • Realist
    Jul 20, 2013 - 6:09AM


    In Syria, they have already been created. It is a Sunni Shia war out there now with Sunnis and Shias all over the world participating in it. Calling it something else won’t change reality.


  • Zahid
    Jul 20, 2013 - 7:17AM

    After 1400 years history has repeated itself. Sunni Muslims did same kind of acts 1400 years ago.


  • syed
    Jul 20, 2013 - 7:30AM

    yes sara, most people here might nit know but Bibi Zainab (s) is the daughter of Imam Ali a.s. and Bibi Fatima (s). these kharjis are calling themselves as muslims yet trying to destroy this holy place. aisay musalmano say to Allah bachaye.


  • ali
    Jul 20, 2013 - 7:34AM

    who is funding et, iranian draconian regime?


  • RAW is WAR
    Jul 20, 2013 - 7:58AM


    It is a Shia mosque. You are defending it just because you are a sunni.


  • Hur
    Jul 20, 2013 - 8:31AM

    Shame on you Express Tribune! For calling those who are protecting this Shrine as ”Shia Militants”. Shows your morbid thinking! Loved how you contradict – you write that the Shrine is being “protected” by militants. So those attacking the shrine are divine soldiers?

    Quoting your article:
    The Syrian government accuses rebels of targeting Sayyeda Zainab shrine, which is now protected by hundreds of Shia militants from Iraq and the powerful Lebanese Hezbollah group.


  • Aysha M
    Jul 20, 2013 - 9:38AM

    We have come to a point of no return. This is unbelievable act of irreverence and utter madness, this isnt Islam


  • Raj - USA
    Jul 20, 2013 - 10:42AM

    “I think the heading should be “Shrine of Prophet’s (SAW) Grand daughter rather than Shia Muslim shrine! This is how we create sectarian lines.”

    What would you say about the hundreds and hundreds of sunni mosques that sunni terrorists themselves take over and somewhat to a lesser extent, instances of shia terrorists taking their own mosques.

    Muslims themselves are the destroyers of their own places of worship anywhere in the world. Any place or object of religious significance to any religion or sect should be kept free from all sorts of terrorists belonging to any religion or sect. Also, no arms should be allowed in any place of religious worship.


  • Abbas
    Jul 20, 2013 - 12:06PM

    what do mean by “shia muslim shrine” ?


  • Ali Tanoli
    Jul 20, 2013 - 5:08PM

    They are freedom fighters from regime who is not different than Ibn Muavia in his nature …Recommend

  • faizan
    Jul 20, 2013 - 7:15PM

    Shrine of Rasool e Pak. has been sttacked by Kharjee’s
    and we r discussing. about Shia-Sunni differences. which USA wantsRecommend

  • Pakistani
    Jul 20, 2013 - 7:45PM

    @Sara: …. I totally agree with you


  • ahmed
    Jul 20, 2013 - 8:06PM

    Be aware of the sheep in wolves clothes. These khawarij call themselves Sunnis. They are nothing but a bunch of terrorists and sectarians.


  • Salman
    Jul 20, 2013 - 10:45PM

    This is ET’s job #1


  • Muslim
    Jul 21, 2013 - 1:46AM

    How could you call people ‘Militants’ who are actually protecting the shrine of Prophet’s(PBUH) grand daughter?
    Shame on you ET!
    There is no shia Sunni in Syria, it’s Takfiri (Kharjis) against Muslims and takfiries (rebels) are supported by U.S, Israel, and Arab world.


  • Mir
    Jul 21, 2013 - 8:21AM

    Hey ET: show some respect to the Prophet’s (saww) grand daughter. Refer to her as Bibi Zainab or Sayyida Zainab or Hazrat Zainab.


  • Syed
    Jul 21, 2013 - 12:02PM

    Those who attacked the shrine of Bibi Zainab have no right to call them Muslims and they should be punished for it Insha-Allah in this world by Hezbullah and in Qayammah by Allah. Ameen.
    and Muslims you are fighting over this issue that Sunni Shias are fighting in Syria and all and all. But sadly you didnt care about the Prophets pbuh beloved granddaughter? Shame on you all. It is responsibility of each and every individual who calls himself Muslim to go and defend the shrine or atleast protest against this act.


  • Ali
    Jul 21, 2013 - 1:02PM

    For God’s sake- It is not a “shia shrine”, it is the shrine of the Prophet’s (S) granddaughter! Please – Sunnis go there too, they revere Ahle Bayt as well. The people doing these attacks call themselves Sunni but are nothing more than fanatical takfeeri khawarij with no respect for sunnis or shias or humanity at large. They are just inhuman demonic orcs nurtured & promoted by Wahhabi Gulf monarchies and their allies.


  • hajrudin
    Jul 21, 2013 - 3:31PM


    totally wrong.. what we have in syria is a dictator muxhrim kaffir against muslims.

    truth hurt but we must say it.
    bashar has killed more than 10000 children and you support him. shame.
    his days are numbered inshaAllah.


  • hajrudin
    Jul 21, 2013 - 3:40PM


    ha ha ha. Allah will punish for this shrine!.
    there are only three holy places in Islam Mekkah Medina and Kuds. All those shrines are used for shirk. you are on the wrong side. reflect to be saved in the hereafter.


  • kashif
    Jul 21, 2013 - 4:12PM

    A big shame on you and on your dirty thoughts, as a Muslim I condemn it.
    Allah protect us from Fitna


  • Baber Zaidi
    Jul 21, 2013 - 4:43PM

    Your hatred towards Ahl-ul-bayt(a.s) is seems on every post you have written. Your pathetic Takfiri ideology is showing your true colors. Let me tell you few facts about the conflict:
    * Do you know how many Takfiri (paid) fighters have invaded Syria? – 40,000 estimate (Saudi, UAE, Pakistan thugs from Jails and terrorists).
    * What percentage of Syrians are against present regime? – 10% (they are the 10% who got paid to incite so called Arab rising in Syria and had been side lined, terrorist thugs from all over the Globe have taken over the command).
    * More importantly, who will benefit from the Collapse of Syria? – Israel will be the happiest if Syria falls back into the hands of Terrorists, since Syria is the Staunchest enemy of Israel in the region. Secondly, USA will benefit the fall of Asad regime so, they can implement puppet Gov’t and put their basis in Syria so, they can penetrate Iran and Hezb-ullah.
    Hope this will give you some insights of some sort of background why West specially USA and Saudi’s want Asad’s regime to fall or for that matter, create Shia/Sunni conflict in Syria. Shia’s and Sunni’s are very well informed about the nusance of Wahabiism and Deobandi fitna and none of them will fall for this trap.


  • ali hazrat bacha
    Jul 21, 2013 - 5:20PM

    shrine of Hazrat Zainab (AS) is equally respectable for all. there is no shia and sunni in this regard.why people are attacking shries?


  • Jul 21, 2013 - 6:26PM

    salam to all jab muhje pata chala ke apne roze per war huwa tu muhje bohat bura dekha insallah hum sab shia log milkar dua karrege or hum sab log milkar hamere dushmano si badla zaroor lige inshallah…………………………………………………………………….


  • Shahid Khan
    Jul 21, 2013 - 10:20PM


    It is all about the importance. Actually Shias give a lot of importance to our Rasul and his family rather than his companions. It is very sad that us Sunni’s hardly give importance to the Rasul’s family and give more importance to his companions.


  • Jul 22, 2013 - 12:45AM

    salaam… they are trying to spread shia sunni conflict and in Syria the bashar govt are anti American government so therefore america supporting terrorist and most of the terrorist which attach shrine are non Syrian .., so there is no shia sunni war in Syria its actually Syria and terrorist war . as we know that most of the Syrian army fighting against terrorist are sunni so how we can say that it is shia sunni war. to attack shrine is to start conflict between shia sun I. so we have to unite and don’t argue each other


  • Siddiqui
    Jul 22, 2013 - 4:16PM

    When in your zealotness you think that to suppress people you need to destroy something they hold dear and when walls of the shrine of a dead person become more important than the living, you should know you are in a mess.
    The intellectual abode of both these groups is past and if they remain persistent in their hate, they would become past.

    Emotinal attachment to an ideology requires its proof in the form of zealotness. If you are emotional about it you are doing something wrong. If you cant justify your emotional attachment with rationality and unversal morals, either the ideology is evil or you are not fit enough to follow it. Develop an intellectual connection with religion.

    The interpretation of the religion that is being feed to us is evil. Its better to reject it and become an agnostic then follow any of these 2 version full of hate and vengence. Try and revive that compassionate man inside you first. Educate yourself first. And only after you have done that, understand the religion urself.


  • Ali Baloch
    Jul 22, 2013 - 10:13PM

    There is no Sunni Shia war in Syria im regularly in contact with my friends in Syria and whether Sunni or Shia they are all supporting Assad’s regime and want the FSA out!!!!


  • sayed intizar hussain
    Jul 23, 2013 - 8:52PM

    I will also very sad that every people kill uswhat are the mistake of us and what can we do any wrong of any person that he will attack on our shrine.if we will standard then we will distriod all over the world.(ten class student intizar )(uswa school parachinar)thanks


  • Syed Nafees Ahmad
    Aug 22, 2013 - 10:40PM

    If I was instead of Bashar, I would kill 10000 milions of snake child, because they are not a muslim who has not respect of Bibi Zainab (sa).


  • saif rzvi
    Aug 22, 2013 - 10:43PM

    If I was instead of Bashar, I would kill 10000 milions of snake child, because they are not a muslim who has not respect of Bibi Zainab (sa).


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