Facebook Twitter 新浪微博 Instagram YouTube Monday, Feb. 22, 2016

Syria sees highest bombing death toll as world powers seek ceasefire

(Xinhua)    08:13, February 22, 2016

People gather at the site of a suicide bombing attack at a Shiite mosque in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, Dec. 9, 2015. At least 11 people were killed and some 20 others wounded on Wednesday in a suicide bomb attack at a Shiite mosque in the eastern part of the Iraqi capital, a police source said. (Xinhua/Khalil Dawood)

DAMASCUS, Feb. 21 -- Five deadly bombings killed at 150 people in central and southern Syriaon Sunday, marking one of the highest death tolls in a single day during the last five years of conflict.

Syrians woke Sunday to the news of twin bombings that rocked the al-Zahra' neighborhood, a pro-government district in the central city of Homs, killing around 60 people, local media said and a source told Xinhua.

The official Syrian TV aired footage of the blast site, showing scenes of destruction and carnage. Piles of debris everywhere with buildings' facades ripped off by the explosions. Badly charred vehicles and dead bodies were seen in the initial footages, sending chills down the viewers' spines.

The twin deadly bombings were not the first to hit that afflicted neighborhood, but surely were the deadliest. Last month, 30 people were killed in similar bombings in al-Zahra', a home to Syrians of the Alawite minority, to whom the ruling elite in Syria belong.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights group said the families in al-Zahra' kicked the governor of Homs, Talal al-Barazi, and 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 security measures in al-Zahra'.

Few hours later, a spate of bombings were heard reverberating from the southern part of the capital Damascus, which later turned out to be three explosions rocking the predominantly Shiite district of Sayyidah Zaynab.

The state news agency SANA said a car bomb tore through the al-Tin street in that sprawling district, which was followed by two other suicide bombings.

Apparently, the first car aimed to draw people to help the wounded, and later two IS suicide bombers detonated themselves among the crowds, a tactic often followed by the terror-designated group.

The death toll in Sayyidah Zaynab kept climbing till reaching 90 casualties and tens of wounded people, many of whom seriously wounded.

The triple bombings in Sayyidah Zaynab are considered the biggest to hit the capital Damascus during the last five years of conflict.

Xinhua reporter at the site saw destruction covering at least ten buildings and around 50 shops on a 100 meter long distance.

Haunting and chilling scenes of destructions shrouded the area, amid a state of astonishment mingled with resentment and fear eclipsing the atmosphere.

The smell of water on charred concrete, which is mingled with blood and debris, gives the sentiment of the smell of death.

The bombings in al-Zahra' and Sayyida Zaynab were claimed by the IS group which seems to have returned to the bombings' tactic to cover for its losses from the Syrian army and the Kurdish fighters in the northern province of Aleppo and al-Hasakah province in northeastern Syria.

In previous statements, the IS vowed to continue bombing areas in the capital Damascus.

Like al-Zahra', Sayyida Zaynab was also targeted last month by IS bombers, during which over 76 people were killed.

The IS holds deep grudges against the Shiite people who which are considered in the IS methodology as "infidels."

The enmity toward the Shiite people also emanates from the group's battles against Hezbollah and the Syrian army across Syria.

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

The Sayyidah Zaynab tomb became a center of religious studies of the adherents of the Shiite sect of Islam and a destination of mass pilgrimage by Shiite Muslims from across the Muslim world.

Since mid-summer 2012, the district has been under frequent attacks and shelling by ultra-radical rebels who aim to attack the Shiite people due to their supportive stance on the Syrian government and their religious background about the Shiite-Sunni conflict.

As the district holds religious significance to the Shiite people, Hezbollah has sent fighters to protect the shrine and manned checkpoints sounding it.

In the first reaction to the explosions, Syria's Foreign Ministry said the deadly explosions rocking Syria's province of Homs Sunday revealed Turkish and Saudi roles in prolonging the Syrian crisis, according to SANA.

"The bombings are in reaction to Turkey's and Saudi's responses to their exposed role in advancing the Syrian conflict as well as an attempt to hinder the efforts towards finding a political solution," said the Foreign Ministry, in condemnation letters sent to the United Nations.

The deadly bombings in Syria on Sunday came as the world powers were still pushing for a ceasefire in the war-torn country.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in Jordan on Sunday that a provisional agreement on the terms of a ceasefire in Syria has been reached.

Speaking at a press conference in Amman, Kerry said the United Statesreached a deal with Russiaover the truce in Syria and that a ceasefire agreement is likely to be announced very soon as well.

Kerry said he discussed the details of the truce with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

During the press conference with his Jordanian counterpart Nasser Judeh, Kerry said U.S. President Barack Obamaand Russian President Vladimir Putinwill discuss the completion of the agreement in the next few days.

On Saturday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said he was ready for cease-fire in Syria on condition that the "terrorists" don't exploit it.

In an interview with the Spanish newspaper, El Pais, Assad said halting the military operations in Syria demands deterring the terrorists from exploiting it to enhance their positions.

He pointed out that countries, like Turkey, must stop sending more terrorists and arms as well as providing logistical support to the terrorists.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Editor:Kong Defang,Bianji)

Add your comment

Most Viewed


Hot News

We Recommend


prev next

Related reading