Funeral held in Basra for Shi'ite militants killed in Syria
Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - 00:31
Aug. 27 - Hundreds attend a funeral procession in Basra for four Shi'ite militants killed fighting in Syria. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION)
STORY: Hundreds of mourners gathered in the southern Iraqi province of Basra on Tuesday for the funeral of four Shi'ite militants killed in fighting in Syria while defending the famed Sayyida Zeinab shrine in Damascus.
As vehicles carried the coffin through the streets, mourners waved banners and held pictures of the militants along with Iranian Ayatollahs Khomainy and Khamenei.
The four fighters were members of the Sayyied al-Shuhdaa brigade that was formed last year to defend Shi'ite shrines in Syria.
Iraqi Shi'ite militants said in April that volunteers are crossing into Syria to fight, often alongside Assad's troops, or to protect the Sayyida Zeinab shrine on the outskirts of Damascus, a particularly holy place for Shi'ites.
But militia leaders, who have mostly been inactive since U.S. troops left Iraq a year ago, have been reluctant to openly acknowledge fighting in Syria, possibly because influential Shi'ite clergy opposed Iraqis joining the battle.
Some militants have said they were fighting in Syria in response to their religious leader, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, but without any official sanction from Tehran, Baghdad or from their militia leadership.
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