At least six people have been killed and 23 others injured in a motorcycle bombing near the Sayeda Zeinab mosque in the southern suburb of the Syrian capital, according to the country’s Interior Ministry. Syrian officials reported that a motorbike carrying explosives detonated on a crowded street in the Damascus countryside on Thursday evening. Photos of the aftermath were shared on social media by the officials. The area was quickly sealed off by security forces after the blast was heard around 5:30 pm local time.
According to a resident cited by Reuters, the explosion took place near a security building just meters away from the Sayeda Zeinab mosque. The resident added that there was a huge blast and people started running away from the scene. This is the second attack targeting the holy site this week, with the previous bombing leaving two people injured.
The Sayeda Zeinab mosque holds significant importance as an important pilgrimage site for Shia Muslims. Located in the suburbs south of Damascus, the mosque attracts thousands of pilgrims during the Islamic holiday of Ashura, which is primarily celebrated by Shia Muslims to commemorate the death of a grandson of the prophet Muhammad. Due to the increased number of pilgrims visiting the mosque in recent years, security measures have been heightened in the area.
No specific militant group has claimed responsibility for this week’s bombings. However, the holy site has previously been targeted by the Islamic State (IS), which claimed credit for multiple bombings, including one in 2017 that resulted in the death of 40 people. Despite a decline in terrorism in Syria after years of civil war, attacks on the mosque continue to pose a threat.
The bombings come amid ongoing tensions in the region, with Israeli airstrikes targeting the Syrian capital, according to state media reports. The situation remains highly volatile as authorities investigate the recent attacks and work to ensure the safety of worshippers and residents in the area.
While the exact motives behind the bombings remain unclear, they serve as a grim reminder of the ongoing challenges faced by Syria in rebuilding and maintaining security after years of conflict. The attacks on the Sayeda Zeinab mosque serve as a stark example of the religious tensions that continue to plague the region, further exacerbating the fragile situation in Syria. Heightened security measures will likely be implemented to prevent future attacks and ensure the safety of those who visit the holy site, particularly during significant religious observances.
As investigations into the bombings continue, authorities are also grappling with the broader issue of combating terrorism and maintaining stability in the country. The international community must offer support and assistance to Syria in these endeavors, as the threats posed by terrorism extend beyond national borders. Additionally, efforts to address the root causes of extremism, promote religious tolerance, and foster peace and reconciliation among all sects and communities in Syria are crucial for long-term stability and peace in the region.