State media agencies have said that more than 50 people were killed from a car bombing near the Russian Embassy and ruling Baath Party headquarters. The majority of the deaths were thought to be civilians and estimates say that at least another 235 were injured.
The Thursday blast was in the Mazraa neighbourhood in the center of the capital and Syrian television called it a terrorist attack. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights based in the United Kingdom reported the explosion, saying 42 or more died. It said that nine of the people who had died were members of security forces for the government and the rest killed had been civilians. Reports were that dozens were critically wounded.
The Syrian National Coalition, the main rebel group, denounced those who were responsible as being terrorists and said that the opposition had not been responsible for the bomb.
Al Ikhbariya, the TV station that is pro-government showed some images of the carnage, with bodies covering the ground and cars ablaze. The video footage showed firefighters attempting to put out the blazing cars, while lifeless bodies were lying in grass nearby.
Witnesses of the bombing said that a car exploded at a checkpoint between the ruling Baath Party central headquarters and the Russian Embassy.
Ambulances quickly arrived following the blast, which shattered windows and sent a billowing cloud of smoke into the sky, which was visible in much Damascus.
One resident nearby said the blast was huge with everything in his shop thrown from the shelves. The Syrian National Coalition said in a Facebook post that acts targeting civilians with human rights violations or murder are criminal and must be condemned regardless of who the perpetrator was.