March 23, 2017

Syria: Rebel Group Claims Damascus Bombings

21 March 2017, 01:00 | Darnell Patrick

Twin blasts hit near religious sites in Damascus, Syria

Dozens killed in twin bombings near Shiite cemetery in Damascus

The blasts took place on Saturday near the Bab al-Saghir cemetery in the Old City of Damascus, which houses a number of historic and religious sites.

An al-Qaeda-linked group has claimed responsibility for twin blasts near holy shrines frequented by Shi'ites in the Syrian capital Damascus that killed more than 70 people.

In February 2016, ISIS claimed responsibility for bomb attacks near the Sayeda Zeinab shrine which killed 134 and injured over 90 civilians.

The attackers used improvised explosive devices, Iraqi Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Jamal said in a statement.

The director general of the capital's Al-Mujtahed hospital told AFP earlier there were at least 28 people dead and 45 wounded.

He did not elaborate, but Iraqi Shiites often visit shrines in Syria.

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The war monitor said 11 bystanders and eight children were killed in the blasts, as well as 20 members of pro-government security forces.

A double suicide bombing in the Kafr Sousa district of the capital in January killed at least 10 people.

In the six-year-old Syrian civil war, Mr Assad is fighting against rebels, who are mainly Sunni Muslim, with the support of Iranian-backed Shiite militias from countries including Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon.

Assad spoke in an interview aired Saturday by Hong Kong-based satellite Phoenix television. That it was done under the umbrella of the Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham adds United States links to the terrorist attack, since the Central Intelligence Agency has been armed faction member Nour al-Din al-Zinki for years.

Asked about the deployment of 500 US troops last week at Manbij, Assad said "any foreign troops coming to Syria without our invitation. are invaders".

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