Car bomb explodes near Assad’s Baath party HQ in Damascus: police

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At least 31 people were killed after a powerful car bomb exploded near the headquarters of Syria’s ruling Baath party in the center of Damascus on Thursday.

Syrian state TV reported that the blast occurred in the central Mazraa neighborhood and called it a “terrorist” attack. It did not say what caused the explosion but reported that there were casualties and that the wounded included four children.

The car explosion allegedly took place at a security checkpoint between the Russian Embassy and the headquarters of the ruling Baath party of President Bashar Assad, reported Reuters.

“It was a car bomb at the 16 November Square, near the al-Imam mosque,” near the Baath party offices, a police official at the scene told AFP.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors violence in the country, said initial reports suggested a building of the ruling Baath Party was targeted, according to the Associated Press.

Ambulances rushed to the scene of the explosion, which also shattered windows and sent up a huge plume of smoke visible throughout much of the city.

The 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.

The news comes as opposition activists said that three explosions had hit the al-Barzah district in Damascus, according to Al Arabiya.

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