From Fox News
Hours after an ISIS-claimed triple bombing killed at least 45 in Damascus, Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday addressed the ongoing Syrian conflict, speaking starkly about a humanitarian crisis in which starving villagers have been forced to eat grass and leaves, but also hopefully of creating a “peaceful, pluralistic Syria.”
That optimistic note, however, was overshadowed by the deadly blasts in the Syrian capital, which Kerry mentioned near the end of his speech.
Syria’s state news agency SANA said the bombings went off in Sayyda Zeinab, a predominantly Shiite Muslim suburb of Damascus. The blasts went off about 600 yards from one of the holiest shrines for Shiite Muslims. SANA said the attackers detonated a car bomb at a bus stop and that two suicide bombers then set off more explosives as rescuers rushed to the area.
State TV showed several burning cars and a scorched bus, as well as blown out windows, twisted metal and large holes in the facade of a nearby apartment building. The golden-domed Shiite shrine itself was not damaged.
At least 50 people were killed, the Syrian Foreign Ministry said, with more than 100 wounded.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based opposition group that monitors the conflict, said at least 63 people were killed, including 25 pro-government Shiite fighters. It said the dead fighters included Syrians and foreigners.
The suburb is one of the first areas where Lebanon’s Hezbollah group sent fighters in 2012 to protect it from Sunni extremists who vowed to blow up the shrine. Hezbollah and Shiite groups from Iraq are known to have fighters in the area.
An ISIS-affiliated website said the blasts were carried out by members of the extremist group, which controls large areas in both Syria and Iraq.
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