At least 40 pilgrims killed in Syrian capital as peace talks set to resume

World Today

This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA shows blood soaked streets and several damaged buses in a parking lot at the site of an attack by twin explosions in Damascus, Syria, Saturday, March 11, 2017. (SANA via AP)

At least 40 Iraqi pilgrims were killed and 120 wounded in two targeted bombings in Syria. The victims were on their way to visit a shrine in Damascus when their buses were attacked.

CGTN’s Owen Fairclough filed this report.

At least 40 pilgrims killed in Syrian capital as peace talks set to resume

Over 40 people are dead after twin bombings struck the Syrian capital of Damascus. Those killed were Iraqi pilgrims visiting a cemetery housing Shiite mausoleums. The bombings targeted the pilgrims while they waited at a bus station near the cemetery.

Iraq’s foreign ministry said the dead were Iraqi pilgrims on a visit to the Sayeda Zeinab shrine in Damascus – a holy site for Shiite Muslims.

“We finished the visit and went to the bus station when it started to rain we went to sit in a makeshift building to avoid the rain. The explosion happened near the building. People who were near to me were all killed,” said one survivor.

Local reports said the blasts happened around ten minutes apart.

A human rights group stated the attack included a roadside bomb and a suicide bomber.

“Many soldiers who carried out the rescue were wounded. Then civilians took part in the rescue. Some soldiers died in the second blast,” one witness recounted.

The shrine and the surrounding area have been the target of multiple fatal bombings.

Syria has been torn apart by nearly six years of war.

President Bashar Al-Assad has been supported by Shiite forces from foreign countries against Sunni opponents, including ISIL.

The latest bloodshed happened days before Syrian peace talks are set to resume in the Kazakhstan capital of Astana.