Back-to-back bombs hit a major military compound in the center of Damascus on Wednesday, setting fire to the country's main army headquarters and leading to a gun battle that has raged for hours in the surrounding streets. The Free Syrian Army took credit for the attack when began right around 7:00 a.m. in Umayyad Square, a major road hub in the center of the capital. The rebels claimed that several dozen people were killed in the blast, one of the biggest to hit city during the civil war, but the Syrian government claims there were no actual casualties.
Rebels groups, perhaps working more closely with terrorists that have inserted themselves into the conflict, have stepped up their bombing campaign in the capital in recent months, and continue to hit ever closer to the heart of the Syrian government and military. They've shown an ability to strike almost anywhere in Damascus, and have hit several key military buildings. This latest bomb attack may have even been set off inside the compound itself, demonstrating (along with the bombing of a security meeting that killed Bashar al-Assad's brother-in-law in July) an ability to infiltrating some of the highest levels of the armed forces.
In addition, Maya Nasser, a journalist working for Press TV, a state-owned English language network in Iran, was killed by sniper fire while attempting to report on the bombing. She would be the 25th journalist to be killed in Syria since the start of 2012, easily making it the deadliest conflict in the world for reporters.