At The Syrian Observer Journalist Yahya Alous shines some light on the growing secterianism in Jaramana, a suburb of Damascus with a large Druze and Christian population. The town is currently witnessing an influx of pro-government Shiite fighters:
Jaramana or Beirut's southern suburb?
by Yahya Alous, The Syrian Observer
In Jaramana, various types of Shiite songs have recently arrived from Iraq, in addition to the sounds of mournful prayers and calls, either calling for the intervention of Hussein, or for his help in seeking revenge. Decked with yellow flags, SUVs freely roam the streets of the city, bearing posters calling for the attention of Hussein and Zeinab. And in other corners of the city, people from different parts of the country wander the streets, proudly wearing sectarian symbols and slogans on their shoulders. This is the new look of the city, which has become a hotbed for these certain kinds of militant groups.This city, which is also inhabited by Druze and Christians, and which is not far from Damascus, has never before displayed the sectarian affiliations of its citizens. And this despite the fact that many have hinted that it is part of the sectarian conflict so increasingly engulfing Syria. Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s secretary general, has also referred to Jaramana more than once in his speeches over the last couple of years, as did the Russian foreign minister, who said he was “heart broken” by what had happened here, after a car bomb was detonated last year.The Druze are satisfied to follow their simple religious practices, which perhaps even go unnoticed by other residents. Their places of worship are very modest, in accordance with their principles of asceticism and mysticism, similar to the guiding Christian rituals. In spite of the increasing number of churches over the last 20 years, the latter’s presence can be summarized by the sounds of the church bells, and even those are barely heard in some areas of the city. For decades this coexistence between the Druze and the Christians has been the norm, and the city has never witnessed any sectarian conflicts or clashes. Not even with any of the surrounding Sunni villages either.