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Blast targets Damascus court

According to Syrian state television, a so-called "terrorist" bomb exploded outside the country's highest court in Damascus on Thursday. There were reports of a loud explosion, followed by a thick cloud of black smoke that rose over the Syrian capital. The court building appeared intact as firefighters doused nearby cars - and as ambulances arrived at the scene. It was unclear whether anyone was hurt or killed in the blast. The blast went off in a car park beside the courthouse, and it reportedly damaged at least 20 cars. An uprising against President Bashar al-Assad that began with peaceful street protests 16 months ago quickly devolved into a bloody conflict, after his forces continually attacked demonstrators. Rebel fighters are increasingly targeting symbols of a state they see as brutal, oppressive and autocratic. Travis Brecher, Reuters

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