Syrian Jihadist Network Claims Damascus Twin Bombs

A Syrian alliance of jihadist groups known as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham said on Sunday it was responsible for a double suicide bomb attack in the capital Damascus that killed dozens of people.

The group said the attack on Saturday targeted Iranian-backed militias in revenge for what it said was their role in supporting President Bashar al Assad's "tyrannical rule," holding them responsible for "killing and displacing" Syrians.

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People are seen though a shattered glass window of a bus at the site of an attack by two suicide bombers in Damascus, Syria March 11. Omar Sanadiki/Reuters

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based war monitor, said most of those killed in the attack were Iraqi Shi'ite Muslim pilgrims who were going to visit a cemetery near the Old City of Damascus. It said at least 20 pro-government fighters also died.

In the six-year-old Syrian civil war, Assad is fighting against rebels, who are mainly Sunni Muslim, with the support of Iranian-backed Shi'ite militias from countries including Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon.

Many rebel groups say Iranian-backed militias are trying to evict Sunnis from around Damascus and other areas that are strategically important in the war.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham was created from a merger of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham—formerly al Qaeda's Nusra Front—and several other groups. The jihadist alliance, which is not linked to Islamic State, includes some of the most hardline rebel elements fighting Assad.Try Newsweek: Subscription offers

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