Syria has been engaged in a brutal civil war since President Bashar Hafez al-Assad suppressed protests by the Sunni majority in 2011.
In 2011 President of Syria Bashar Hafez al-Assad suppressed protests by the Sunni majority because he is from the Alawite sect, which is an offshoot of Shiite Islam.
The actions of the President, who is from the Alawite sect (an offshoot of Shiite Islam), ignited rebellion from the Sunnis, who are now determined to overthrow him.More stories from Today Tonight
Both sides have committed atrocities in their homeland, and now tensions between the two sects appear to have reached Australia.
Australian Alawite Muslim Ali Dayoub believes his religious affiliation almost cost him his life.
"I am born and raised in Melbourne. The city has never had sectarian wars, it has only escalated over the last year or two because of the events occurring in Syria," Mr Dayoub said.
"Ever since the events have occurred, the branches of the Muslim religion have been amplified by over 100 per cent. Therefore, people who weren't extremists are being extremists, and people who weren't fundamentalists are becoming fundamentalists."
Mr Dayoub was serving a customer at his sweet shop in 2012 when a large group of men came in brandishing weapons.
"He said 'we're going to close you down you Alawite dog'," Mr Dayoub recalled.
The gang followed him after he fled and jumped a fence into someone's backyard.
The police were called and Mr Dayoub was able to escape, but he lost his business because his customers were too scared to shop there.
Mr Dayoub's friend is also an Alawite Muslim who had his house firebombed, and as a result his friend is too frightened to appear on camera.
In a separate case a man was caught on camera throwing a Molotov cocktail into a Melbourne car yard. The victim was a Sunni supporter of the Syrian Rebels.
In February 2012 anti-regime demonstrators trashed the Syrian Embassy in Canberra.