A car bomb shook central Damascus on Thursday, exploding near the headquarters of the ruling Baath party and the Russian Embassy, eyewitnesses and opposition activists said.
Syrian state TV also reported the blast in the central Mazraa neighborhood, calling it a "terrorist" attack. It did not say what caused the explsiosn but reported that there were casualties and that the wounded included four children.
Ambulances rushed to the scene of the explosion, which also shattered windows and sent up a huge cloud of smoke visible throughout much of the city. They said a car exploded at a security checkpoint between the Russian Embassy and the central headquarters of the ruling Baath party of President Bashar Assad.
They Syrian capital has so far mostly avoided the large scale violence that has destroyed other Syrian cities, though deadly car bombings have targeted government buildings before.