A bomb has ripped through a hotel in central Damascus close to a Syrian government complex.
State TV described the explosion as a terrorist act.
Seven people have been injured, one them critically.
Opposition activists claim the bomb went off close to a heavily-guarded army installation in the heart of the capital.
Rebels have planted a number of bombs in Damascus in recent times in an attempt to take the conflict to the core of Assad’s Syria.
Three hundred kilometres away in the ravaged city of Aleppo government forces and anti-Assad fighters continue to battle it out amid the debris of the country’s second metropolis.
Rebels say they are having to defend themselves against government sniper attacks.
The Syrian military claims to have destroyed a number of vehicles carrying men and munitions as the fighting continues with no end in sight.