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Explosions in Syrian Alawite-dominated areas aim to fuel sectarian tension

English.news.cn   2012-11-07 16:03:32            
 • Analysts said the blasts targeting Alawite-dominated areas aim to fan the flames of sectarian tension.
 • Most of the Damascus-based army and security officers along with their families live in that area.
 • Alawites, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, make up about 12 percent of Syria's 23-million population.

DAMASCUS, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- The spate of blasts that have targeted Alawite-dominated areas in the Syrian capital Damascus over the past days aim to fan the flames of sectarian tension in the country, analysts said.

On Monday, at least 11 people were killed and scores of others wounded when a booby-trapped car sliced through Damascus' al-Mazeh 86 district, a district known for being dominated by the Alawite minority, to which Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the ruling elites belong.

Most of the Damascus-based army and security officers along with their families live in that area. It also houses some Kurds and other factions of the Syrian society.

On Tuesday, at least 15 people got killed when three explosive devices rocked al-Wurud Square in the Damascus suburb of Qudsia, another stronghold for Alawites.

At early hours Wednesday, mortar shells struck al-Mazzeh 86 for the second time within days and resulted in an unknown number of casualties.

It is worth mentioning that many children have been either killed or injured in the latest series of blasts, due to the density of population in the targeted areas.

Alawites, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, make up about 12 percent of Syria's 23-million population. Sunni Muslims, the opposition's backbone, constitute about 75 percent of the population.

Assad's ruling al-Baath Party professes a secular, pan-Arab socialism in the country, which consists of a remarkable melange of sects. However, Sunnis have long been grumbling at what they see as sectarian rule by the Alawites.

Syrian analysts said the recent blasts aim to incite one sect against the other, which has already happened in some Syrian areas, most notably in the central province of Homs and now in Damascus.

Hussam Shuaib, a political expert, said the recent blasts tried to drag the Alawites to take revenge on the Sunnis "and thus falling in the trap of a civil war planned by some foreign parties. "

Omar Ossi, a Kurdish member of the Syrian parliament, said the blasts had not excluded any component of the Syrian society, pointing out that "the blasts have started targeting the Sunnis, the Druz, Christians, Kurds, Shiites, Alawites and even the Palestinians in the camps."

He said the blasts also aim to project the Syrian administration as unable to protect the minorities to pave the way for sectarian fighting.

However, the experts said they believe the Syrian people will overcome the current events and will not be dragged into the sectarian quagmire.

As the Alawite minority are being targeted, the opposition activists, mostly Sunni Muslims, have repeatedly described a more widespread and sectarian-driven government crackdown carried out with pro-government militia known as Shabiha, largely consisting of Alawites.

The 20-month-old civil conflict has grown more dangerous as it keeps raging on. Furthermore, the domestic sectarian tensions in Syria seem to have largely spilled over borders into neighboring Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey.

Another complication has emerged recently: the presence of radical Islamists -- some of them are affiliated with al-Qaida -- in Syria with the aim of waging Jihad against the government troops. Many foreign reports and international organizations admitted the presence of al-Qaida fighters in Syria sneaking from other countries.

A shadowy radical group calling itself al-Nusra Front has claimed responsibility for a bulk of the blasts that have engulfed Syria during the months-long crisis.

On Tuesday, Syrian Foreign Ministry charged that countries that fund and arm terrorists in Syria are responsible for the terrorist acts.

In a letter to the UN Security Council chairman and UN secretary general, the ministry said the terrorist acts committed by "armed terrorist groups" in Syria have uncovered the truth of what is happening in the country and the sides responsible for the rampant terrorism.

The ministry said that according to international laws, countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Libya, Turkey, Britain, France and the United States, which provide terrorist groups with funds and weapons, are accomplice in the crimes committed in Syria.

It reiterated Syria's demands that the Security Council play its role in condemning international terrorism and forcing certain countries to cease their arming, funding and harboring of terrorist groups.

More than 20,000 people, mostly civilians, have reportedly died in Syria since the crisis began in March 2011. Another 2.5 million Syrians urgently need humanitarian aid, and over 340,000 have crossed the border to neighbor countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq, according to UN estimates.

Special Report: Syrian Situation


 

 

Editor: Bi Mingxin
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