Syria says 45 killed in Damascus area blast

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The wreckage of a vehicle is being loaded on a truck as Syrian pro-government forces and residents gather at the site of suicide bombings in the area of a revered Shiite shrine in the town of Sayyida Zeinab, on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, on January 31, 2016. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the bombings that killed at least 45 people. / AFP / LOUAI BESHARA (Photo credit should read LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/Getty Images)

The wreckage of a vehicle is being loaded on a truck as Syrian pro-government forces and residents gather at the site of suicide bombings in the area of a revered Shiite shrine in the town of Sayyida Zeinab, on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, on January 31, 2016.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the bombings that killed at least 45 people. / AFP / LOUAI BESHARA (Photo credit should read LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/Getty Images)

BEIRUT (AP) — The Syrian government says that the death toll from a triple explosion in a suburb of the capital of Damascus has risen to 45.

A website linked to the Islamic State group said Sunday’s explosions were carried out by IS supporters.

The blasts came as a U.N. envoy attempted to launch indirect peace talks between delegations sent to Geneva by the Syrian government and the opposition.

The state news agency SANA quoted a Syrian Interior Ministry official as saying at least 45 people were killed when three explosions went off Sunday in the Sayyda Zeinab area south of the capital, Damascus.

SANA said the attackers detonated a car bomb at a bus station, followed by two blasts set off by suicide bombers as rescuers rushed to the scene of the first explosion.

A Syrian official says President Bashar Assad’s government will “never accept” the removal of two militant groups from a list of terrorist organizations barred from peace talks.

Ahrar al-Sham and the Army of Islam, two Islamic groups fighting to overthrow Assad, agreed to take part in U.N.-sponsored peace talks in Geneva.

But the Syrian government and its close ally Russia view both as terrorist groups that should be excluded from the process, along with the Islamic State group and al-Qaida’s local affiliate.

Information Minister Omar al-Zoubi’s comments to state TV late Saturday came as the main opposition delegation arrived in Geneva.

The delegation has named Army of Islam official Mohammed Alloush as its chief negotiator.

Most parties agree that IS and the al-Qaida-affiliated Nusra Front should be excluded.

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