A suicide bomber detonated a car bomb in the centre of the Syrian capital, Damascus, on Monday. State media said it killed at least 15 people and wounded 53.
The explosion was in a busy residential and commercial area, close to a school and the central bank.
Huge plumes of black smoke could be seen rising over the area as emergency services raced to the scene.
Television images showed extensive damage, including the burnt-out remains of dozens of cars. Two nearby buildings were engulfed in flames.
AFP reports intense gunfire was heard shortly afterwards.
The BBC reports it was the second large car bombing in Damascus this year.
At least 53 people were killed and more than 200 wounded in an attack on the ruling Baath party headquarters on 22 February.
A suicide bomber detonated explosives inside a mosque in Damascus's Mazraa district last month, killing 42 people.