DEADLY BLASTS KILL 107 IN SYRIA, IS CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY

DAMASCUS — The Islamic State (IS) militant group has claimed responsibility for the deadly bombings, which rocked the central province of Homs and the capital Damascus on Sunday, killing over 107 people.

In online statement, the IS group said it had carried out the bombings in the 60-Street at the al-Zahra’ neighborhood in the central province of Homs, which killed over 57 people and wounded dozens of others.

Al-Zahra’ is inhabited by people of the Alwaite minority, to whom the ruling elite in Syria belong, which explains why it was targeted by the IS group, which showed zero tolerance to other sects, let alone the sect that is accused of supporting the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 39 of those killed in Homs were civilians, including a child and 11 women.

The UK-based watchdog group said the families in al-Zahra’ kicked the governor of Homs, Talal al-Barazi, and the Interior Minister Muhammad al-Sha’ar, who wanted to visit the hard-hit neighborhood, in an apparent resentment over what the people may deem as government inaction toward tightening the security measure in al-Zahra’, which seen several previous bombings, the latest of which took place last month when two bombings claimed by IS killed over 30 people.

Meanwhile, the group also claimed responsibility for the triple bombings that rocked the Shiite district of Sayyidah Zaynab in south of the capital Damascus, killing 50 people.

The pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV and Syria official TV said the first explosion was a car bomb, followed by two other explosions by two suicide bombers close to the al-Sader Hospital in Teen Street in that sprawling district.

Sayyidah Zaynab district has a Shiite shrine containing the tomb of Zaynab, Islam’s Prophet Muhammad’s granddaughter.

The bombings are the latest in a series of explosions targeting the district, guarded by Lebanon’s Hezbollah group fighters.

At least 45 people died and 100 others were wounded last month when two explosions shook the same Shiite district.

The Sayyidah Zaynab tomb is a center of religious studies for adherents of the Shiite sect of Islam as well as a mass pilgrimage destination for Shiite Muslims from across the world.

The bombings in Sayyidah Zaynab occurred just a few hours following a series of twin bombings which killed 46 people in the pro-government district of Zahra’ in downtown Homs.

The explosions come as the international community is pushing to achieve a cessation of hostilities in Syria to be a base for a political solution to the country’s nearly five-year-old conflict. PNA/Xinhua/northboundasia.com