Syria is blaming “terrorists” for a massive car bomb explosion in central Damascus outside the headquarters of the ruling Ba’ath Party and near a school and the entrances to the Russian Embassy.  Children from the school are among the dozens killed, and hundreds more people are wounded. 

Gruesome and NSFW video of the bombing appeared on Syrian TV.  The main opposition group “The National Coalition” is also condemning the attack as the work of “terrorists.  But the Free Syrian Army is taking that a step further and implicating the government, claiming many emergency vehicles were seen poised in the vicinity before the blast.

Syrian state television says 53 people were killed; a western human rights group puts the death toll at 47 lives lost.  Until now, Damascus has largely escaped the mass casualties seen in other areas during the Syrian civil war.