Car bomb in south Damascus causes casualties

Sayeda Zainab district is home to Shiite shrines being guarded by foreign Shiite militias

18:35 October 17, 2016

Beirut: The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a car bomb exploded on Monday in a southern district of Damascus which is home to Syria’s holiest Shiite shrine, with initial reports of casualties.

The British-based monitoring group said the blast took place near a checkpoint in the Sayeda Zainab district used by the Syrian army and its allies.

There was no immediate mention of the blast on Syrian state media, which normally reports bomb attacks in government-held areas. Hezbollah’s Al Manar TV channel howver denied the reports.

The area has been targeted several times by deadly bombings this year, most recently in June with an attack claimed by Daesh.

The Observatory said initial reports indicated there were no civilian casualties on Monday.

The Sayeda Zainab shrine is a magnet for thousands of Iraqi and Afghan Shiite militia recruits who go there before being sent to frontlines, where they fight against rebel groups trying to topple President Bashar Al Assad.