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Multiple explosions hit Damascus, Homs

Explosions hit near a Shiite sanctuary south of Syria's capital Damascus after car bomb attacks killed scores in Homs

Published: Updated:

A series of explosions ripped through the Sayyida Zeinab suburb of Damascus on Sunday, killing at least 83 people and wounding more than 170, the official SANA news agency said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on local Syrian activists, said the blasts killed 62. SANA said the bombs went off near schools during the afternoon rush hour.

The neighborhood is home to one of Shiite Islam's holiest shrines, which his heavily guarded by Lebanon's Hezbollah movement and other Shiite militiamen from Iraq and elsewhere.

Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV said the blasts were caused by a car bomb and two suicide bombers.

The neighborhood is home to one of Shiite Islam's holiest shrines, which his heavily guarded by Lebanon's Hezbollah movement and other Shiite militiamen from Iraq and elsewhere. Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV said the blasts were caused by a car bomb and two suicide bombers.

The blasts came hours after twin car bomb explosians killed at least 46 people in the Syrian city of Homs on Sunday, the Observatory said.

The Observatory said 57 people, including 11 women, were killed by two car bombs set off in a mostly Alawite neighborhood. Syrian President Bashar Assad hails from the Alawite minority, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

Syrian TV footage from Homs showed streets filled with debris and mangled cars, and the charred body of a man being taken away on a stretcher.

Footage from Sayyida Zeinab showing people running in narrow streets as others carried the wounded, including several children.

"He's alive, he's alive," a man shouted as he tried to administer CPR to an unconscious man. The TV later called on citizens to donate blood.

The militant ISIS group claimed both attacks.

A bomb attack claimed by ISIS last month in Homs in the west of the country killed at least 24 people, the city’s governor said at the time, as government forces took back some ISIS-held villages in Aleppo province in the north.

Sunday’s attacks also came a day after government advances against ISIS. There was no immediate claim from the group, however.

Another bomb attack in December which killed 32 people took place following a ceasefire deal that paved the way for the government to take over the last rebel-controlled area of the city, which was a center of the 2011 uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.

(with Reuters and the Associated Press)