A car bomb which detonated near the ruling Baath Party headquarters in central Damascus has killed more than 30 people.
Most of the victims in the Syrian capital are thought to have been civilians – including children from a nearby school – though the death toll included members of the security forces.
A further 70 people are said to have been wounded.
Vehicles up to 300 metres away were damaged by the blast in Mazraa district.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad blamed the attack on what he called terrorists who are trying to overthrow the government.
The attack came at the same time as the announcement by the opposition Syrian National Coalition that it is willing to negotiate a peace deal, under US and Russian auspices, to end the country’s two-year long conflict.
They said, however, that al-Assad cannot be party to any settlement.