Explosion Rocks Syrian Palace of Justice

A large explosion shook downtown Damascus as bloody fighting continues in and around the capital.

Contact Editor
Gabe Kahn,

Smoke rises after bombing at Syrian Palace of
Smoke rises after bombing at Syrian Palace of

A large explosion rocked the Syrian capital on Thursday afternoon as bloody fighting in and around Damascus continues.

Syrian TV said the explosion was in the parking lot of the Palace of Justice, a compound that houses several courts.

The headline of Syria's official news agency SANA was “A Terrorist Explosion inside the parking of Justice Place in the Center of Damascus at al-Marja Quarter.”

The nature of the blast was not immediately clear, but several deadly bombings targeting Syrian military and secret police installations have been carried out this year.

Syria offered no official statement about the bombing, nor damages and casualties that may have been caused by the explosion.

However, SANA reported "three injuries in the terrorist blast inside the parking of Justice Palace in Damascus, and material damage to 20 cars in the parking."

"Fire engines extinguished the fire which erupted after the bombing within a few minutes," the report added.

Central Damascus is tightly under the control of forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, but has nonetheless been hit by several bomb attacks.

The outskirts of Damascus in recent weeks have seen numerous bloody clashes between Assad's forces and Syrian rebels, leaving scores dead.

The rebels of the Free Syrian Army - mostly comprised of army defectors armed at light infantry - have launched increasingly deadly attacks on regime targets, but are not believed to have the organization and sophistication to carry out a concerted bombing campaign.

Observers note FSA commanders, sensitive to their need of public support, have attempted to avoid civilian casualities and focused on traditional ambush and hit-and-run guerilla tactics.

Analysts say the wave of bombings suggests al-Qaeda or other extremists are waging their own insurgency against Assad.

Assad has waged a bloody campaign of oppression in a bid to end a 16-month popular uprising against his 11-year rule.

UN officials say at least 10,000 – mostly civilians – have been killed since the Syrian revolt began in March 2011. However, diplomats say the actual number of Syrian's killed is probably much higher.