Debris litters the street in the al-Arqub neighborhood of the northern city of Aleppo following fighting between Syrian government soldiers and rebel forces (image credit AFP/Getty)
Beirut (AP via USA Today) -- Several bombs went off Tuesday inside a school in Damascus that activists say was being used by regime forces as a security headquarters.
Ambulances rushed to the area and an initial report on state media said seven people were wounded.
An amateur video posted online showed smoke billowing from several spots in an area near a major road. The narrator said: "A series of explosions shake the capital Damascus." The authenticity of the video could not be independently confirmed.
Abu Hisham al-Shami, an activist based in Damascus, told The Associated Press via Skype that the "Sons of Martyrs School" had recently been turned into a regime security center. He said government forces use the school as a base to fire mortars at rebellious neighborhoods. State-run television quoted the director of the school as saying that two bombs exploded inside in the school, wounding seven people and causing minor damage. It said the bombs were planted by "terrorists" the term that the government uses for rebels.
As Syria's civil war intensifies, rebels have increasingly targeted security sites and symbols of regime power. In July, a bombing killed four senior security officials including the defense minister and President Bashar Assad's brother-in-law. Other massive bombings have targeted the Damascus headquarters of security agencies, killing scores of people this year.
A government official in Damascus confirmed a blast in the vicinity of the school, saying there was an explosion along the highway leading to the Damascus International Airport. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said three people were wounded. It was not possible to immediately reconcile the differing casualty tolls.
Meanwhile, Syrian refugees angry over harsh living conditions in their desert tent camp have clashed with Jordanian police.
A police official says about 150 refugees hurled stones at security officers, torched a tent and attacked the offices of a Jordanian charity responsible for the camp and a Moroccan field hospital. Twenty-six policemen were injured in the violence late Monday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
The charity's spokesman, Zayed Hammad, says about 1,000 refugees were involved in the protest.
Syrian refugee Abu Nawras says police fired tear gas to disperse the protest. He says the protesters demanded improved conditions, better food and education for their children.
The Zaatari camp near the Syrian border is home to about 32,000 Syrian refugees.