Syria says at least 53 killed in Damascus car bomb
A massive car bomb exploded near Syria's ruling party headquarters in Damascus on Thursday, killing at least 53 people and scattering mangled bodies amid the smouldering wreckage.
Syrian state media put the toll at 53 with more than 200 wounded. However, anti-regime activists said 59 died, which would make this the deadliest attack in the capital since the Syrian uprising began nearly two years ago. In May, a double suicide bombing killed 55 people in Damascus.
Three straight days of mortar attacks on the centre of Damascus after recent rebel advances in the suburbs marked the most sustained rebel challenge in the heart of President Bashar Assad's seat of power.
Within hours of the car bombing, two other bombs went off elsewhere in the city and a mortar attack struck the army's central command. Thirteen people were killed by the other two bombs, activists said.
While no group has claimed responsibility, the attacks suggest that rebel fighters who have gotten bogged down in their attempts to storm the capital are resorting to guerrilla tactics to loosen Assad's grip on the capital.
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