Two suicide bombings in Damascus have marked the seven year anniversary of the Syrian civil war in terrible fashion. The first bombing took place at a government judicial building; the second at a popular restaurant. There are reports of 30 dead and dozens injured, and these numbers are sure to increase as the day goes on.
The message behind the bombings is clear: though the Assad government and its allies have won major victories on the battlefield, peace will continue to elude them so long as a political solution isn’t reached.
Work on such a deal has already begun, and talks involving Turkey, Iran, Russia, and the Assad government, are now in their third round in the Kazak capital of Astana. Unfortunately, there’s not much to be optimistic about since the rebels aren’t even at the negotiating table.
Despite ISIS’ defeats, jihadism is alive and well in Syria. Today’s attacks come on the heels of two other bombings in Damascus on Saturday, which combined resulted in the deaths of over 40 people. The Saturday bombings were claimed by representatives belonging to the group formerly known as al-Nusra Front. After a limited and ultimately failed charm offensive to try and ingratiate itself into the fold of West-backed rebels, the al-Nusra Front (now known as Jabhat Fatah al-Sham) now finds itself on the wrong side of an unlikely international coalition that bridges Russia and the United States.