Apocalyptic Prophecies Drive Both Sides in Syria

(Reuters) Mariam Karouny - Syria's war has killed more than 140,000 people and driven millions from their homes. "If you think all these mujahideen came from across the world to fight Assad, you're mistaken," said Sunni Muslim jihadi Abu Omar. "They are all here as promised by the Prophet. This is the war he promised - it is the Grand Battle," he told Reuters, using a word which can also be translated as slaughter. On the other side, many Shi'ites from Lebanon, Iraq and Iran are drawn to the war because they believe it paves the way for the return of Imam Mahdi - a descendent of the Prophet who vanished 1,000 years ago and who will re-emerge at a time of war to establish global Islamic rule before the end of the world. Iranian cleric and parliamentarian Ruhollah Hosseinian last year cited comments by an eighth-century Shi'ite imam: "As Imam Sadeq has stated, when the (forces) with yellow flags fight anti-Shi'ites in Damascus and Iranian forces join them, this is a prelude and a sign of the coming of his holiness." Lebanon's pro-Assad Hizbullah militia fights under a yellow banner.

2014-04-03 00:00:00

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