This morning, two large bomb blasts went off in Damascus, according to Information Minister Omran Zoabi. He said one may have gone off inside the military compound, something that could indicate inside help, reports the Guardian. The blasts were felt throughout the city – with buildings one kilometer (a half-mile) away shaking “violently” at the force – and were followed by a “fierce gun battle,” reports the BBC. Diplomats told the news agency this was the largest explosion they’ve heard in months.
The FSA took responsibility for the attack, and said dozens of people died as a result of the blasts. Syrian officials said, however, that there was only “material damage.” After the attack, Mr. Zoabi told the Associated Press:
I can confirm that all our comrades in the military command and defence ministry are fine.
Everything is normal. There was a terrorist act, perhaps near a significant location, yes, this is true, but they failed as usual to achieve their goals.
The Syrian government often refers to rebel fighters as terrorists. Meanwhile, exiled activist Ammar Abdulhamid interpreted the attack in a very different way:
Assad’s grip over Damascus has become tenuous at best. Rebels are able to conduct bombings and attacks even in the most secured areas aided by informants embedded within Assad’s own security establishment. The battle of Damascus is set to begin at earnest soon, in what promises to be a very bloody development.