A triple bombing claimed by ISIS killed at least 45 people near the Syrian capital of Damascus on Sunday, overshadowing an already shaky start to what are meant to be indirect Syria peace talks. Syria's state news agency SANA said that the blasts went off in Sayyda Zeinab, a predominantly Shiite Muslim suburb of the Syrian capital. SANA said attackers detonated a car bomb at a bus stop and that two suicide bombers set off more explosives as rescuers rushed to the area. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition group that monitors both sides of the conflict, said at least 47 people were killed in the explosions, and that the death toll was expected to rise because a number of people were seriously wounded.
The Geneva talks are part of a process outlined in last month's UN resolution that envisions an 18-month timetable for a political transition in Syria, including a new constitution and elections. The talks got off to a rocky start Friday, with UN Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura meeting only with a Syrian government delegation. The main opposition group said it will not take part until its demands are met, including lifting the siege imposed on rebel-held areas and an end to Russian and Syrian airstrikes. "It's the duty of the Security Council to put the pressure on Russia to stop these crimes in Syria," opposition spokesman Salem al-Mislet told the AP on Sunday. The opposition delegation is to meet with de Mistura later Sunday, al-Mislet said. Meanwhile, a Syrian official said President Bashar al-Assad's government will "never accept" the inclusion in the peace talks of two militant groups it considers terrorists.