DAMASCUS, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- Syrian Interior Minister Bassam Abdel Majeed on Saturday condemned a car bombing in southern Damascus as a "cowardly terrorist act."
Majeed told the state-owned Syrian TV that the attack was targeting a crowded area near the junction of Zeinab on the airport road in southern Damascus, killing 17 people and wounding 14 others.
All the victims were civilians, he added, adding that an anti-terrorism unit has launched investigation to identify the perpetrators of the attack.
The minister refused to blame anyone for the attack at this moment, saying more details would be announced as the investigation carried on.
The TV said the car, equipped with 200 kg of explosives, exploded at about 8:45 a.m. local time (0545 GMT).
A report of the independent Syria-news website said the number of the victims reached 34, with 17 people killed and 17 others wounded.
Security authorities cordoned off the site soon after the blast, said the Syria-news website, adding windows of houses up to 200 meters away from the scene were shattered by the explosion and that some people were wounded by flying glass.
Witnesses told Syria-news that thick smoke rose from the site and more than 15 ambulances rushed to the scene.
Xinhua correspondents saw that all the major crossings leading to the airport road were closed and that traffic through the airport road was diverted.
Traffic jams were seen on roads connecting the airport road and the city center, which was rare on a weekend morning.
According to the official SANA news agency, the blast occurred on the Mahlaq road in southern Damascus in an area crowded with civilian passers-by.
The site was near the Sayeda Zeinab neighborhood, which is popular with Shiite pilgrims from Iran, Lebanon and Iraq.
It was the first explosion in the Syrian capital since February when Shiite militant group Hezbollah leader Imad Moughniyah was killed in a car bombing in a residential neighborhood of Damascus.