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  Series of bombings in Homs, Damascus kill 119

Series of bombings in Homs, Damascus kill 119

AFP / REUTERS
Published : Feb 22, 2016, 5:38 am IST
Updated : Feb 22, 2016, 5:38 am IST

The site of double car bomb attack in Al-Zahraa neighbourhood of Homs in Syria on Sunday. (Photo: AFP)

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The site of double car bomb attack in Al-Zahraa neighbourhood of Homs in Syria on Sunday. (Photo: AFP)

As US secretary of state John Kerry, who arrived in the Jordanian capital Amman late on Saturday, called his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov seeking a ceasefire, a series of explosions in the Syrian cities of Homs and Damascus have left at least 119 dead.

 

In Homs, at least 57 people, mainly civilians, were killed in a double car bombing, while 62 people were later killed in four attacks, including a car bombing, near a Shia shrine in Damascus.

ISIS, late on Sunday, claimed both the bombings in Homs and Damascus.

The bombings came as world powers, who had proposed the truce just over a week ago paved the way for the resumption of new peace talks, while Mr Kerry and Mr Lavrov, reportedly, reached a provisional agreement on terms of a cessation of hostilities in Syria.

The ceasefire was scheduled to start earlier but did failed as Syrian Army offensives continue unabated across the country, backed by Russian air strikes.

 

However, Moscow has pledged to continue backing the Syrian government in its fight against “terrorism”, dashing hopes for a ceasefire and said it would only back if the regime holds fire.

Syrian President Basharal-Assad said on Saturday he was ready for a ceasefire, on the condition that “terrorists” did not use a lull in fighting to their advantage and that countries backing insurgents halted support for them.

His comments were made as the Syrian Opposition said it had agreed to the “possibility” of a temporary truce, provided there were guarantees Damascus allies, including Russia, would ceasefire, sieges were lifted and aid deliveries were allowed countrywide.

 

“We have said that we are ready to stop military operations, but the issue relates to more important factors. Such as preventing terrorists from using it to improve their positions,” Mr Assad told Spanish newspaper El Pais in an interview.

He also said any truce must ensure that “other countries, especially Turkey, are prevented from sending more terrorists and weapons, or any kind of logistical support”.

Talking to El Pais newspaper, Mr Assad said he wanted to be remembered 10 years from now as the person who saved Syria. Further, he said he was ready to implement a long-sought ceasefire, but only if the rebels and their international backers such as Turkey did not use it as a chance to gain ground.

 

He said once he has the full control, the next step would be to form a national unity government and proceed with a new Constitution and general elections.

Location: Syria, Damascus