'53 dead' in Damascus blast

At least 53 people have been killed in a large explosion that rocked the Syrian capital Damascus, opposition activists said.

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Syria's Foreign Ministry 'accuses rebels of bombing'

Syria's Foreign Ministry has accused armed groups affiliated with the al-Qaeda network of being behind the massive explosion that killed more than 53 people in Damascus today, state media said.

The ministry's statement came in a letter addressing the UN, during which it charged that al-Qaeda linked groups in Syria were receiving support from regional and foreign countries, calling on the UN to shoulder its responsibilities toward combating terrorism.

Debris and damaged vehicles after an explosion at central Damascus. Credit: Reuters

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Hague: Syrian aid to help those who 'escape violence'

Foreign Secretary William Hague has said the decision to send $17 million (£11 million) in aid for Syrian refugees in Lebanon was to help those who "escaped violence".

Foreign Secretary William Hague visits a World Food Programme Centre in Beirut. Credit: Reuters

At a World Food Programme Centre in Beirut, Mr Hague and Lebanese Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour inspected the registration process that refugees have to sign up for, before receiving food and other aid.

Mr Hague told the press: "This [aid] is to provide what people urgently need, to provide clean water, food, blankets, life-saving medical supplies.

"Of course we regret all loss of life in Syria, there are hundreds of people dying everyday and this is the result of a conflict not being resolved, of a regime that has targeted and abused so many of its own people, but our focus today is on helping people who have fled that".

Official: Russian Embassy 'damaged' after Damascus blast

Russia's state owned RIA Novosti news agency has quoted a Russian Embassy official from Syria as saying the Embassy building has been damaged, after a car bomb exploded in central Damascus, reportedly killing 53 people.

The official said: "The building has really been damaged ... The windows are shattered," but added that no one had been hurt in the attack.

Damaged vehicles and the Russian embassy building (rear C) are seen after an explosion in central Damascus. Credit: Reuters/Sana

Foreign Office: UK to send £11 million aid to Syria

The Foreign Office has posted a tweet that William Hague has announced the UK will be sending £11 million worth of aid to support Syrian refugees, during his visit to Lebanon.

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Syrian activists say Damascus car bomb kills 'civilians'

Syrian activists have claimed victims of a car bomb that reportedly killed 53 people and wounded 200 in central Damascus, were mostly civilians, including children, possibly from a school near the ruling Baath Party offices.

The car bombing was the deadliest attack inside Damascus in nine months, within two hours, two other bombings and a mortar attack on the military compound followed.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

People walk near debris and damaged vehicles after an explosion at central Damascus. Credit: Reuters/Sana
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