At least 25 people were killed in Damascus on Friday, after a bomb exploded at a busy intersection, The Associated Press reported.
Dozens were wounded in the attack, the report said, and officials were quoted as having vowed to respond to further security threats with an “iron fist.”
The government blamed “terrorists” and said a suicide bomber had blown himself up in the crowded Midan district “with the aim of killing the largest number of people,” Interior Minister Mohammed Shaar told reporters. State media said most of the dead were civilians but security forces were also among them.
The country's opposition, meanwhile, demanded an independent investigation, accusing forces loyal to the Syrian regime of being behind the bombing to tarnish the ten-month-old uprising against President Bashar Assad.
Midan is one of several neighborhoods in Damascus that has seen frequent anti-Assad protests on Fridays since the uprising began in March.
Friday’s bombing comes two weeks after two suicide car bombers struck two security facilities in Damascus, leaving at least 40 dead.
This week it was reported that Syrian government forces are continuing to kill protesters despite the presence of Arab League monitors in the country. Syrian opposition groups say the death toll in the country has risen beyond 6,000.
The Arab Parliament has expressed its opposition to the continuation of the mission of the monitors, saying they may be providing a cover for Assad's forces to continue their gruesome atrocities, if not to escalate the slaughter.
AP reported that the protests continued Friday around the country, and security forces killed at least eight people, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The Local Coordination Committees, another activist group, put the death toll at 11.
(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.)