Deadly triple bombing near Syrian capital overshadows shaky peace talks

GENEVA - A triple bombing claimed by the extremist Islamic State group 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.

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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 a number of people were seriously wounded.

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

UN-hosted peace talks in Geneva are part of a process outlined in last month's UN 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 UN Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura meeting only with a Syrian government delegation.


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