Middle East

Syria regime, Iran-backed groups propagating Shia faith

Local imams forced to recite Shia call to prayer in Deir ez-Zor province, sources say

19.11.2018
Syria regime, Iran-backed groups propagating Shia faith

By Mohamed Misto, Levent Tok and Adham Kako

DEIR EZ-ZOR/ANKARA

The Assad regime and Iran-backed terror groups are attempting to propagate the Shia faith in Sunni-majority Syria, local sources told Anadolu Agency.

In Syria’s eastern oil-rich Deir ez-Zor province, the regime and Iran-backed groups are forcing people to recite a Shia-style call to prayer in the Mayadin and Abu Kamal districts near the Iraqi border, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to security concerns.

At least 20 imams who refused to recite the Shia call to prayer were dismissed, the sources said, while a number of others were detained.

Unlike the Sunni call to prayer, Shias add the refrain, “I bear witness that Ali is the guardian of Allah”.

Located near the Iraqi border, Deir ez-Zor is home to Syria’s largest oilfields. Eleven of the country’s largest oilfields are located east of the Euphrates River, which snakes through Deir ez-Zor province.

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.

Reporting by Mohamed Misto, Levent Tok and Adham Kako:Writing by Faruk Zorlu


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