Sixteen people have been killed in a car bomb in a town near Damascus.
The explosion occurred in Qatana, about 25 kilometres from the Syrian capital, and close to several army bases.
On Thursday, Russia’s deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov admitted that the Syrian government might be losing ground to the rebels.
Russia is a major ally of President Al-Assad. Syrian state TV blamed the attack on rebel fighters.
An unidentified woman, who witnessed the explosion, said:
“We were going to the school when the explosion took place. People flew into the air. I don’t know what happened to my parents. They may have died.”
Syrian insurgents launched an offensive on Damascus after a July attack that killed four of Assad`s closest aides.
But the president has responded with scud-style ballistic missiles, according to NATO officials.
Around 40,000 people are thought to have died in Syria’s uprising.
Yet so far, international efforts against Assad have been blocked by Russia and China.
This could be the first sign that Russia is preparing for an end to the Assad regime.