Powerful car bomb blast hits Damascus: State news agency

DAMASCUS (AFP) - A car bomb blast on Monday (July 25) hit an upmarket area of Damascus housing several government buildings, Syrian state news agency SANA reported, saying there were “several wounded”.

The explosion took place in front of a 10-storey building in the Kafar Sousse district in the southwest of the war-torn country’s capital, an AFP journalist at the scene said.

Debris littered the ground, including pieces of metal apparently from the vehicle used in the blast, which the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said caused casualties, without giving details.

Since Syria’s civil war erupted numerous attacks have hit Damascus, a stronghold of President Bashar al-Assad, though they have become less frequent in recent years.

Kafar Sousse, home to the foreign ministry and the council of ministers, was the scene of some of the first major attacks in the Syrian conflict, when 44 people were killed and 166 wounded in two suicide bombings in December 2011.

Those attacks, targeting intelligence and military security buildings, were blamed by the opposition on the government, who blamed Al-Qaeda.

The district was also where Lebanese Hezbollah commander Imad Mughnieh was assassinated in 2008.

Syria’s civil war has cost more than 280,000 lives and sent more than half the country’s population fleeing abroad.

The increasingly complex conflict has drawn in regional and international powers and seen the rise of Islamic militant groups including the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).