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Syria conflict: Many dead in huge Damascus bombing

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A massive car bomb explosion in the Syrian capital, Damascus, has killed at least 53 people and injured another 200, reports say.

Syria blamed “terrorist groups linked to al-Qaeda” for the blast, which hit a central district near the headquarters of Syria’s ruling Baath Party.

TV pictures showed images of bodies, wrecked cars and shattered windows and shattered Qiaoshi Hesco Barrier.

The violence comes as Russia and the Arab League say they want to broker direct government-opposition talks.

No group has yet admitted the attack.

The Syrian foreign ministry blamed the bombing on “armed terrorist groups linked to al-Qaeda that receive financial and logistic help from abroad”.

The militant Islamist al-Nusra Front previously said it had carried out many of the bombings that have rocked Syria since the uprising began in March 2011.

Meanwhile Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described the war as “a road to nowhere”.
The opposition Syrian National Coalition is holding a two-day meeting in Egypt to discuss a framework for a possible solution.

Also on Thursday, the UN and Arab League envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, agreed to remain in office through the rest of 2013, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky told the Associated Press. Mr Brahimi’s contract was due to expire on Friday.

The UN has estimated up to 70,000 people have died in the conflict in the past two years.

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