Deadly clashes broke out in the Sayyida Zainab shrine area of southern Damascus this month among militias affiliated with the Iranian terrorist Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), in the latest round of internecine violence.
A number of militiamen were killed on May 7 as Iranian, Afghan, and Pakistani elements of two IRGC-affiliated militias fought among themselves, the Syrian opposition outlet Sawt al-Asima (Voice of the Capital) reported.
Seven non-Syrian militiamen were killed during the brief, violent clash, which lasted around half an hour, Sawt al-Asima regional managing editor Ahmed Obeid told Al-Mashareq.
A 7-year-old girl lost her life, he said, and 13 other civilians were injured.
Tensions that led to the incident were reportedly rooted in a dispute over the sale of narcotics between two IRGC-aligned groups, the outlet reported.
One of the groups had encroached on the other’s “territory” and sold drugs there, it said, which caused the subsequent conflict.
In February, clashes broke out in the same area between a group of Iraqi visitors and local residents, Sawt al-Asima reported.
The conflict was reportedly ignited when Iraqi visitors insulted some residents as food aid was being distributed in the area, observers said.
Residents of Damascus say Iran-backed militias control the Sayyida Zainab area and have turned it into a suburb “similar to the southern suburb of Beirut”, a historic stronghold of Lebanese Hizbullah.
Hezbollah, another armed militia group backed by Iranian terrorist IRGC, has been flooding Syria with drugs, Syrian activists told Al-Mashareq, noting that areas around Damascus are starting to resemble the party’s Lebanese strongholds in terms of the illicit activity that goes on there.
Obeid said the Sayyida Zainab area is controlled by the IRGC and the Syrian regime.
There are Iranian, Afghan, Pakistani, Iraqi, and Lebanese Hizbullah militia elements in the area, which is divided into sectors, he said, with each militia “authorized” to sell a pre-specified amount of drugs within its own sector.
Source » iranbriefing