A bomb blast rocked Syrian state television headquarters in the heart of Damascus wounding several people today just two days after the army said it had seized the last rebel-held area of the capital.
In commercial capital Aleppo, the army bombarded a string of rebel neighbourhoods after government security officials said that troops had completed their build-up and that a 20,000-strong force was poised for a ground assault.
Information Minister Omran al-Zoabi said there were no deaths in the morning bombing of the state television buildings in the heavily protected Omayyad district of Damascus.
"It is clear that the blast was caused by an explosive device," Zoabi said. "Several of our colleagues were injured, but there were no serious injuries, and no dead." The broadcaster said that the blast hit the third floor of its headquarters. It remained on the air despite the bombing.
It was not the first attack on the pro-government media in Syria. On June 27, gunmen armed with explosives attacked the offices outside Damascus of the Al-Ikhbariya satellite channel, killing three journalists and four security guards.
"The terrorist groups stormed the offices of Al-Ikhbariya, planted explosives in the studios and blew them up along with the equipment," Zoabi said after that attack.
On July 18, four top security officials -- including President Bashar al-Assad's brother-in-law -- were killed in a bombing that rocked the heart of the regime. The attack was claimed by the rebel Free Syrian Army.
A subsequent investigation found that a technician in the office of Hisham Ikhtiar, head of the National Security agency, had planted explosives in the room where the crisis cell meeting was held.
The latest blast comes just two days after the army said it had seized Tadamun, the last rebel-held district of Damascus, after heavy fighting, and authorities took journalists on an escorted tour.
"We have cleansed all the districts of Damascus, from Al-Midan to Mazzeh, from Al-Hajar Al-Aswad to Qadam... to Tadamun," an officer told reporters at the time. In Aleppo today, a rebel commander was killed in the Salaheddin district in the southwest, and troops shelled the Palace of Justice in the city centre, as well as the Marjeh and Shaar districts, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
In Bab al-Nayrab, troops shot dead a civilian who was helping wounded people, the Britain-based watchdog added. A total of nine people were killed in Aleppo early today, among them eight civilians, it added.