At least 40 people are dead after two suicide car bombers struck two security facilities in Damascus on Friday, Al-Jazeera reported.
Faisal Mukdad, Syria's deputy foreign minister, told the network most of the dead are civilians. He added at least 100 other people were wounded in Friday’s attack in the Kfar Sousa district.
State media reported that initial investigations indicated that a terror group associated with al-Qaeda may have been responsible for the attack.
“Several soldiers and a large number of civilians were killed in the two attacks carried out by suicide bombers in vehicles packed with explosives against bases of State Security and another branch of the security services,” Al-Jazeera quoted Syria’s state-run television as having said.
Footage was shown of damaged buildings and dead bodies being transferred to ambulances.
Al-Jazeera noted the blasts marked the first such attack in the Syrian capital since the start of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
Meanwhile, activists reported the death of eight people in the central city of Homs on Friday, where they said government forces fired at protesters leaving a mosque in one of the city’s neighborhoods.
The latest violence in Syria comes one day after the Arab League sent an advance team to Syria to prepare for the arrival of observers who will monitor Assad’s compliance regime with the League's demand to end clashes with opposition forces.
The 10-member team, headed by top League official Samir Seif al-Yazal, includes financial, administrative and legal experts, according to the Reuters news agency, and is tasked with ensuring the monitors will have open access and be able to move freely about the country.
Meanwhile, opposition sources in Syria said Thursday that a top Syrian army general, Mustapha a-Sheikh, has abandoned his post. A-Sheikh is in charge of chemical weapons deployment in eastern Syria. According to the sources, a-Sheikh escaped over the border into Turkey in recent days.
A-Sheikh's defection came on the background of what opposition activists said was an increasing frustration among many army soldiers at being deployed to fight against Syrian citizens.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)