ISIS claims responsibility for the attacks near a shrine and in a crowded district
On Sunday, a series of suicide bombings outside of Damascus near a shrine, and in Homs claimed at least 142 lives. The Islamic State or ISIS promptly claimed responsibility for the attacks. The latest string of ISIS bombs exploded a both Russia and America stepped up their efforts to broker a ceasefire.
There was a car bombing near Damascus which was followed by two suicide bombs ripping through the shrine area and killing 83 people, SANA reported.
Quoting police sources, the official Syrian news agency stated that hundreds of other people including children had been wounded. The attacks had taken place as youngsters were leaving for their schools.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights stated that around 68 people had died but it also said that several of the wounded people were in serious condition.
Another reported in the area said that the ISIS bombs stuck about 400 meters from the shrine. Dozens of shops were also damaged whereas cars standing nearby were reduced to junk. Another attack in the same area only a month ago had killed 70 people. ISIS had also claimed responsibility for that attack.
The Observatory for Human Rights also reported that two car bombs in regime controlled al – Zahraa district in Homs killed at least 59 people.
The Islamic State claimed online that two of its suicide bombers had struck near the shrine and two more had driven cars packed with explosives into a crowded place in Homs.
SANA, the Syrian state television showed emergency aid workers trying to help people. Destroyed shops, minibuses and cars could also be seen in the background.
Most of the residents of Al – Zahraa belong to the same Alawite community as the ruling Assad clan of Syria. The community is regularly being targeted by extremists.
The international community has been trying to bring an end to the grueling civil war in Syria which has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. The latest truce would have taken effect on Friday but for the disagreements over the terms of the truce.
On Sunday, the US secretary of State John Kerry spoke with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov at least three times so that a truce could be agreed upon.
Kerry stated in Amman that the world powers had principally agreed on a provisional truce and the terms for bringing an end to hostilities in the coming days.
There were telephonic conversations between Lavrov and Kerry during which terms of the ceasefire were finalized. World powers had proposed a ceasefire around a week ago as part of a plan that also included providing humanitarian aid. It would be followed by talks for comprehensive peace.
The peace talks had collapsed earlier during the current month. The opposition negotiators have stated that it will not agree to a truce until the regime and its supporters halted fire.
In the current situation, the recent Damascus and Homs bombings have made it clear that there is an urgent need for a comprehensive peace plan which will bring an end to devastation and bloodshed in Syria.