DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) -- The U.S., the U.N. and Syria's main opposition group are condemning Thursday's deadly car bombing in the Syrian capital.
The bomb exploded near the ruling party headquarters in Damascus, scattering mangled bodies among the blazing wreckage.
Syrian state media describe the blast as a suicide attack and say it killed at least 53 civilians and wounded more than 200, with children among the casualties. Anti-government activists put the death toll at 61.
The violence has shattered the sense of normalcy that President Bashar Assad's regime has tried to maintain in Damascus, which has largely been insulated from the bloodshed and destruction that has left other urban centers in ruins. Government warplanes have pounded opposition strongholds in the suburbs, limiting the rebels to only small incursions into the capital.
Recent bombings and mortar attacks suggest that instead of trying a major assault, rebel fighters are now resorting to guerrilla tactics.
There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack, but suspicion will likely fall upon one of the most extreme of Syria's myriad rebel factions. The group has claimed past bombings on regime targets.