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Syria: Shi'ite militants unite to defend holy shrine01:43

Syria: Shi'ite militants unite to defend holy shrine

Syrian Arab Republic, Damascus
March 25, 2013 at 18:29 GMT +00:00 · Published

Syria: Shi'ite militants unite to defend holy shrine

An RT crew who gained access Sunday to a group of Shi'ite militants found a well equipped, trained and armed force of Iraqi, Lebanese and Syrian fighters in Damascus, Syria. The Abu-al-Fadl-al-Abbas brigade, named after a martyred son of Imam Ali, was formed to defend Shi'ite holy sites on the southern outskirts of the Syrian capital. The brigade is composed of mostly Iraqi nationals armed with soviet-made weapons such as PKM machine guns and RPG-7 grenade launchers that are ubiquitous throughout the Middle East. Officials have stated they are not in Damascus under the auspices of any state or organisation.

The leader of the fighters told RT, "We have more and more fighters every day. We train them to the highest quality, we train them in guerilla warfare and how to use weaponry".

The shrine is dedicated to Hadrat Zaynab, daughter of Imam Ali, the first Shi'ite Imam and Fatimah, daughter of Prophet Muhammad. Unlike Iraq, where the Shi'ite population are the majority, in Syria sites such as Sayyida Zaynab are in danger due to Sunni majority. The unit commander said that the Iraqi fighters were motivated by the desire to prevent a repeat of the wholesale sectarian violence that followed the 2006 and 2007 attacks on Iraq's Shi'ite Imam al-Askari Mosque. The attacks allegedly came from groups associated with Al-Qaeda and severely damaged the mosque.

The leader of the militants explained, "extremists like Afghanis and Libyans and Tunisians and from all over the place are targeting the shrine of Sayyida Zeinab and this is to destroy Syria".

Syria: Shi'ite militants unite to defend holy shrine01:43
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Syria: Shi'ite militants unite to defend holy shrine

An RT crew who gained access Sunday to a group of Shi'ite militants found a well equipped, trained and armed force of Iraqi, Lebanese and Syrian fighters in Damascus, Syria. The Abu-al-Fadl-al-Abbas brigade, named after a martyred son of Imam Ali, was formed to defend Shi'ite holy sites on the southern outskirts of the Syrian capital. The brigade is composed of mostly Iraqi nationals armed with soviet-made weapons such as PKM machine guns and RPG-7 grenade launchers that are ubiquitous throughout the Middle East. Officials have stated they are not in Damascus under the auspices of any state or organisation.

The leader of the fighters told RT, "We have more and more fighters every day. We train them to the highest quality, we train them in guerilla warfare and how to use weaponry".

The shrine is dedicated to Hadrat Zaynab, daughter of Imam Ali, the first Shi'ite Imam and Fatimah, daughter of Prophet Muhammad. Unlike Iraq, where the Shi'ite population are the majority, in Syria sites such as Sayyida Zaynab are in danger due to Sunni majority. The unit commander said that the Iraqi fighters were motivated by the desire to prevent a repeat of the wholesale sectarian violence that followed the 2006 and 2007 attacks on Iraq's Shi'ite Imam al-Askari Mosque. The attacks allegedly came from groups associated with Al-Qaeda and severely damaged the mosque.

The leader of the militants explained, "extremists like Afghanis and Libyans and Tunisians and from all over the place are targeting the shrine of Sayyida Zeinab and this is to destroy Syria".

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