January 31, 2016 10:18 am
Updated: January 31, 2016 1:17 pm

45 dead after bombing in Syria on 3rd day of peace talks

WATCH: Syria peace talks are under way at the UN headquarters in Geneva, in hopes of ending the country's five-year civil war. But discussions got off to a rocky start, with Syria's main opposition group vowing not to take part unless the government stops its bombing campaign. Jeff Semple reports.


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.

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.

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READ MORE: Syrian opposition vows not to participate if demands not met

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.

WATCH: US Secretary of State John Kerry called on Syria’s political factions to “seize the opportunity” presented by the peace talks in Geneva and bring about an end to the conflict there.

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

WATCH: Refugees who fled to Canada share stories, words of wisdom for Syrian refugees


© 2016 The Associated Press

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