SYRIAN OBSERVATORY FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, BBC NEWS (UK), AP

Worldcrunch

DAMASCUS - A series of bombings in Syria’s capital Thursday has killed at least 31 people, among them children and civilians. A car bomb struck the heavy-populated central Damascus district of Mazraa, near the headquarters of Syria’s ruling Baath party and the Russian Embassy.

Syrian state-TV footage of the scene showed at least four lifeless bodies. Reports on casualties include children injured at a nearby school in the residential district of the capital. State media blamed the huge explosion on "terrorists" battling the regime.

 

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors violence in the country, reports  that a car bomb exploded near security checkpoints between the Russian Embassy and the headquarters of President Bashar Assad’s party – which comes as Russia and the Arab League have announced they want to broker direct government-opposition talks.

A second blast was reported in Damascus’ northeastern Barzeh neighborhood, a security official told the Associated Press, while eyewitnesses and pro-government TV reported several other potential blasts.

The violence comes as the opposition Syrian National Coalition is due to begin a two-day meeting in Egypt to discuss a framework for a possible solution to the Syrian warBBC News reports.