|Smoke is seen billowing over the city center after a big blast rattled al-Thawra Street in central Damascus, Syria, Feb. 21, 2013. (Xinhua/Bassem Tllawi)
Photos: Big blast rattles central Damascus
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DAMASCUS, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- A big blast rocked a busy intersection in the capital Damascus Thursday close to the ruling al-Baath party headquarters, leaving unspecified number of casualties, witnesses and reports said.
The blast rocked a busy intersection grouping a mosque and the Baath party headquarters located at the outskirts of the central al-Mazraa district and adjacent to al-Thawra Street, witnesses told Xinhua.
The state-media, meanwhile, said the blast targeted a crowded area as the intersection connects several main streets in Damascus, spelling no details about a death toll.
The blast was followed with heavy gunfire as the authorities cordoned off the area and closed main routes to central Damascus, witnesses said.
Blasts and mortar attacks have become increasingly common in Syria as the rebels, backed by al-Qaida fighters, scaled up their attacks to wobble the regime's grip on power.
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