UN Security Council condemns Damascus bombings

Syrian people and soldiers gather at the site of a bombing in Damascus on Jan 31, 2016.
Syrian people and soldiers gather at the site of a bombing in Damascus on Jan 31, 2016.PHOTO: EPA

NEW YORK - The UN Security Council on Monday (Feb 1) strongly condemned the triple bombing attack near a shrine in Damascus which killed dozens on Sunday (Jan 31), Xinhua news agency reported.

At least 76 people were killed in the bombings, which rocked the sprawling Shi'ite district of Sayyidah Zaynab in the Syrian capital and left more than 100 injured. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) extremist group has claimed responsibility.

In a statement, the members of the UN Security Council conveyed their deep sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims as well as to the people of Syria. Expressing grave concern over IS elements, the council condemned "the negative impact of their presence, violent extremist ideology and actions on the stability of Syria, neighbouring countries and the region", as well as the "devastating humanitarian impact on the civilian populations".

The 15-member body reiterated that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security. It underlined the need to bring perpetrators, organisers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice, stressing that those responsible for these terrorist attacks should be held accountable, Xinhua reported.

As the attack coincided with the start of the Syrian peace talks in Geneva, the council expressed their full support for the efforts of Mr Staffan de Mistura, Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon's special envoy to Syria, and called upon the parties to engage constructively in the talks.

Also on Monday, Mr Ban condemned the attack and urged progress in the ongoing peace talks. The UN-brokered Syrian peace talks began on Friday in Geneva. Led by the UN special envoy, the talks are expected to last six months, with an aim to end Syria's five-year war.

On Monday, following his first formal meeting in Geneva with Syria's main opposition umbrella group, the UN envoy announced the "official" start of the intra-Syrian talks.