Triple bombing near Damascus kills dozens, hampers Syria peace talks

U.N.-mediated peace talks to solve the crisis in Syria are already hampered by a terror attack that killed at least 47 people near Damascus.

By: AP and World Israel News Staff

Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for a triple bombing that killed at least 45 people near the Syrian capital of Damascus on Sunday, overshadowing an already shaky start to what are meant to be indirect Syria peace talks.

Syria’s state news agency SANA said that the blasts went off in Sayyda Zeinab, a predominantly Shiite Muslim suburb of the Syrian capital. SANA said attackers detonated a car bomb at a bus stop and that two suicide bombers set off more explosives as rescuers rushed to the area.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition group that monitors both sides of the conflict through a network of activists inside Syria, said at least 47 people were killed in the explosions and that the death toll was expected to rise because more than 100 people were seriously wounded.

An ISIS-affiliated website said the blasts were carried out by members of the group, which controls large areas in both Syria and Iraq.

U.N.-hosted peace talks in Geneva are part of a process outlined in last month’s U.N. resolution that envisions an 18-month timetable for a political transition in Syria, including the drafting of a new constitution and elections.

The talks got off to a rocky start Friday, with U.N. Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura meeting only with a Syrian government delegation.

Palestinian Ambassador to the U.N. Riyad Mansour on Friday said the Iran nuclear deal and negotiations on Syria, Yemen and Libya have encouraged the Palestinians to seek a broader international framework to try to bring about a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. “This is a new culture — and why shouldn’t that spread to the Palestinian issue?” he asked.

Meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius warned Israel on Friday, despite the ongoing wave of Palestinian terror, that his country will go ahead and recognize a Palestinian state if its efforts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks at an international conference fail. Israel rejected the threat, saying it refuses to negotiate under ultimatum.