22 Feb 2013

Deadly car bomb hits Syrian capital

7:05 am on 22 February 2013

A huge car bomb explosion in the Syrian capital, Damascus, has killed at least 53 people and injured another 200.

State media blamed "terrorists" for the blast, in a central district near the headquarters of Syria's ruling Baath Party and the Russian embassy.

The blast in the central Mazraa neighbourhood seemed to have been targeted at the Baath party offices, but also affected residential areas, the BBC reports.

State media said it had struck near a school and clinic and that schoolchildren were among the casualties.

No group has yet admitted the attack.

The violence comes as Russia and the Arab League say they want to broker direct government-opposition talks.

The opposition Syrian National Coalition is holding a two-day meeting in Egypt to discuss a framework for a possible solution.

Some 70,000 people have died since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011, the UN says.