Al-Qaeda-Linked Group Claims Damascus Attacks

Al-Qaeda-Linked Group Claims Damascus AttacksAl-Qaeda-Linked Group Claims Damascus Attacks

An Al-Qaeda-linked alliance of terrorist groups known as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham said on Sunday it was responsible for a double suicide bomb attack in the Syrian capital Damascus, which killed dozens of people.

According to Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based monitoring group, most of those killed in the attack were Iraqi Shia pilgrims who were visiting a cemetery near the Old City of Damascus, France24 reported.

The organization has increased its estimated death toll on Sunday to 74.

The claim of responsibility comes at a time when Al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, known as the Fatah al-Sham Front, is trying to market itself as a “moderate opposition group”.

Fatah al-Sham is opposed to peace talks between the opposition and the government that have taken place recently in Geneva and the Kazakh capital of Astana. Fatah al-Sham as well as the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group have been excluded from a ceasefire brokered by Russia and Turkey, which went into effect on December 30.

The attacks came two weeks after members of the same group stormed two different security offices in the central city of Homs, killing and wounding scores of people, including a top Syrian security official.

In northern Syria, opposition activists said a suspected US-led coalition airstrike hit a school in the village of Kasrat just south of the city of Raqqa, killing at least 17 people.

The airstrike came amid an offensive by US-backed Kurdish-led fighters against the IS group in the northern province of Raqqa, the militant group’s de facto capital.

The observatory said Sunday’s early airstrike killed 19 people. On Thursday, at least 20 civilians, including some children, were killed in suspected US-coalition airstrikes on a village east of Raqqa.

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints