Sayyidah Zaynab
السيدة زينب
Sayyidah Zaynab Shrine
Sayyida Zaynab
Sayyidah Zaynab is located in Syria
Sayyidah Zaynab
Sayyidah Zaynab
Location in Syria
Coordinates: 33°26′50″N 36°20′10″E / 33.44722°N 36.33611°E / 33.44722; 36.33611Coordinates: 33°26′50″N 36°20′10″E / 33.44722°N 36.33611°E / 33.44722; 36.33611
Country Syria
GovernorateRif Dimashq
DistrictMarkaz Rif Dimashq
 (2004 census[1])
 • Total136,427
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)

Sayyidah Zaynab (Arabic: السيدة زينب, romanizedas-Sayyidah Zaynab; meaning "Lady Zaynab"), commonly known as Sitt Zaynab (Arabic: ست زينب), is a town in the Rif Dimashq Governorate of Syria, 10 km (6 mi) south of Damascus, the national capital. With a population of 136,427 (2004 census), it is the 10th most populous city in Syria and the most populous satellite city of Damascus. Administratively, the town is located in Markaz Rif Dimashq district and belongs to the nahiyah ("subdistrict") of Babbila.[2] The municipality of Sayyidah Zaynab is still considered as a rural community by the governorate of Rif Dimashq.[3] The city contains the Qabr Essit Palestinian refugee camp.


The name of the town is derived from the shrine that contains the grave of Zaynab, daughter of ‘Alī and Fātimah and granddaughter of Muhammad. It is believed by Shī‘a Muslims that the Sayyidah Zaynab Mosque is the authentic burial place of Lady Zaynab, whereas the mosque in Cairo by the same name belongs to Zaynab bint Yahya bint Zayd bint ‘Alī Zayn al-‘Ābidīn (i.e. the great granddaughter of the Imam).[4]

Religious significance

Sayyidah Zaynab is one of the most important destinations for Shī‘a Muslim pilgrims. It has also become an important center of learning in the Shī‘i world.[5] In the 1980s, during the Iran–Iraq War, as well as during the 1990s, the flow of the visitors increased significantly because the Shī‘a shrines in Iraq were inaccessible.[6] Until 2011, around 1 million tourists visited the town of Sayyidah Zaynab every year.

Shī‘a Muslim pilgrims especially came to the shrine town of Sayyidah Zaynab in order to ask for healing.[7]

Currently, 33 public schools and a number of religious institutions are operating in the town.

Recent history

On September 27, 2008, there was a car bomb attack on the intersection leading up to the mosque, killing 17 people with 17 others wounded.[8]

See also: Syrian civil war

On June 14, 2012, the town became the target of a suicide car bomb attack where around 14 people were heavily wounded.[9]

Since mid summer 2012 the town has been under attack from armed militants in neighbouring Sunni towns. Many Shia and pro government families were driven out of their homes in southern Damascus and sought refuge in Sayyidah Zaynab. Constant shelling became more frequent in this predominantly Shia town, and rockets landing on random places in the town became common. In January 2013 a mortar shell landed on the Sayyidah Zaynab Shrine causing some damage to one of the minarets. Sayyidah Zaynab was reported to be a pro-government stronghold as of 7 December 2012.[10] on 4 February 2013, it was reported that Sayyidah Zaynab was contested between rebels and hezbollah/iraqis[11]

Main article: January 2016 Sayyidah Zaynab attack

On January 31, 2016, at least 71 people were killed in a double bomb blast in the Koa sodhda area, near the Sayyidah Zaynab Mosque.[12][13] At least 40 people were also wounded in the blasts, which were caused by car bombs.[14] The attacks came as delegates from the Syrian government and opposition groups gathered in Geneva for provisional peace talks.

Main article: February 2016 Sayyidah Zaynab bombings

On February 21 2016, at least 134 people were killed and 180+ injured in up to four explosions including a car bomb and two suicide blasts. The Islamic State claimed responsibility.[15][16][17]

ISIL claimed responsibility for a bomb blast in June that injured 55 people.[18] SANA reported 12 people killed,[19] while the SOHR said 20 died.[20]

See also: Timeline of the Syrian civil war (2022)

According to the Times of Israel on 21 May 2022, citing a Twitter, account which follows Israeli military activity in Syria, it was alleged that "the strikes targeted sites in the suburb of Sayyidah Zaynab, south of Damascus".[21]

See also


  1. ^ "Babbila nahiyah populations". Archived from the original on 2012-12-03.
  2. ^ General Census of Population and Housing 2004. Syria Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). Rif Dimashq Governorate. (in Arabic)
  3. ^ "موقع دمشق - "السيدة زينب" مدينة في قرية".
  4. ^ enter your name here. "me".
  5. ^ Sabrina Mervin, “Sayyida Zaynab, Banlieue de Damas ou Nouvelle Ville Sainte Chiite?” Cahiers d’Etudes sur la Mediterranée Orientale et le Monde Turco-Iranien: Arabes et Iraniens 22 (1996): 149-162, Electronic document,
  6. ^ Edith Szanto, “Sayyida Zaynab in the State of Exception: Shi‘i Sainthood as ‘Qualified Life’ in Contemporary Syria,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 44 no. 2 (2012): 285-299.
  7. ^ Edith Szanto, “Contesting Fragile Saintly Traditions: Miraculous Healing among Twelver Shi‘is in Contemporary Syria,” in Politics of Worship in the Contemporary Middle East: Sainthood in Fragile States, edited by Andreas Bandak and Mikkel Bille (Leiden: Brill, 2013), 33-52.
  8. ^ "Syria condemns Damascus car bombing as "cowardly terrorist act"". Xinhua. 2008-09-27. Archived from the original on September 30, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-27.
  9. ^ Syria Today:Suicide car bomb blast in Sayyidah Zaynab Archived 2013-02-03 at
  10. ^ Holliday, Joseph; Lynch, Michael (7 December 2012). "The Battle for Damascus: The Current State of Play in Syria". Institute for the Study of War. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  11. ^ Nicholas Blanford (18 January 2013). "Video appears to show Hezbollah and Iraqi Shiites fighting in Syria". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  12. ^ "Suicide car explosion kills 8 and wounds 15 in Sayeda Zainab". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. Retrieved 2016-01-31.
  13. ^ "Syria conflict: Deadly blast near Sayyida Zeinab shrine". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-01-31.
  14. ^ "Blasts kill dozens near shrine in Damascus". Al Arabiya.
  15. ^ "62 killed in blasts near Damascus Shiite shrine". DailySabah. 21 February 2016.
  16. ^ "Almost 120 killed as IS bombings rock Damascus and Homs: Monitor". Middle East Eye.
  17. ^ "Syria conflict: IS claims deadly Homs and Damascus blasts". BBC News.
  18. ^ "Islamic State claims blasts near Damascus Shi'ite shrine". 11 June 2016 – via Reuters.
  19. ^ "Update 1-Death toll from al-Sayyida Zainab twin bombings rises to 12 – Syrian Arab News Agency". 11 June 2016. Archived from the original on June 11, 2016.((cite web)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  20. ^ "Syria TV: Twin explosions near Damascus kill 8, wound 13".
  21. ^ "explosions rock syrian capital in alleged israeli airstrikes". Time of Israel.