‘Dozens of casualties’ in attack on suburb housing Syria’s holiest Shi'ite shrine

Dozens of people are feared dead after two explosions on Saturday in a suburb of the Syrian capital containing the country’s holiest Shi'ite Muslim shrine. The explosions, thought to have been a car bomb and a suicide blast, occurred in the Sayyida Zeinab area outside Damascus. Early reports suggested eight people have been killed and scores injured but the death toll is expected to rise sharply. The district has been a frequent target of suicide and car bombings in Syria’s civil war, now in its sixth year. Some of them have been claimed by the Islamic State group.

The Sayyida Zeinab District of Damascus has been targeted again by terrorists. 7 civilians killed

Leith Abou Fadel on Twitter

Meanwhile, Western powers have accused president Bashar al-Assad’s forces of dropping barrel bombs on the Syrian town of Daraya just hours after it received its first food aid in almost four years. A convoy of trucks carrying food arrived in Daraya late on Thursday evening, delivering rice, lentils, sugar, oil and wheat flour to civilians for the first time since the government laid siege to the town in late 2012. But Mr Assad’s forces bombarded the town shortly after the delivery, according to a witness and human rights monitors, dropping barrel bombs from helicopters as residents shared food. Jean-Marc Ayrault, France’s foreign minister, accused Syria of “extraordinary duplicity” and said he was “outraged beyond words”.