Twin bombings kill over 40 in Damascus Old City

Twin bombings kill over 40 in Damascus Old City
Twin bombs killed scores of people in the Old City of Damascus on Saturday in one of the bloodiest attacks in the heart of the Syrian capital.
2 min read
11 March, 2017

Syria - Damascus twin bombing

Two bombs have killed more than 40 people and wounded dozens of others in Damascus' Old City on Saturday.

A suicide bomber blew himself up as a bus passed in the Bab al-Saghir area, which is home to several Shia mausoleums. A roadside bomb was also detonated, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Several Shia pilgrims were among the dead.

"There are also dozens of people wounded, some of them in a serious condition," Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

Attacks in Syria's capital, a stronghold of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, are a rare occurrence as fighting has concentrated on the city's outskirts.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed in the country's six-year-old civil war, mostly by the regime and its powerful allies, and millions have been displaced both inside and outside of Syria.

The Syrian conflict began when the Baath regime, in power since 1963 and led by President Bashar al-Assad, responded with military force to peaceful protests demanding democratic reforms during the Arab Spring wave of uprisings, triggering an armed rebellion fuelled by mass defections from the Syrian army.

The brutal tactics pursued mainly by the regime, which have included the use of chemical weapons, sieges, mass executions and torture against civilians have led to war crimes investigations.

On the other hand, Shia shrines are a frequent target of attack for Sunni extremists of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group (IS), not only in Syria but also in neighbouring Iraq.

The Sayeda Zeinab mausoleum to the south of Damascus, Syria's most visited Shia pilgrimage site, has been hit by several deadly bombings during the war.