Amman: A powerful explosion hit Damascus on Sunday, killing 10 people on a day when the UN peace envoy was visiting the Syrian capital for talks with President Bashar Assad on the crisis.
An official speaking from the scene said an explosives-rigged taxi blew up 50 meters (yards) from the Bab Touma neighbourhood's main police station.
He and another official said 17 had been wounded. Both insisted on anonymity because they are not allowed to make press statements.
Bab Touma, a popular attraction for shoppers, is inhabited mostly by members of Syria's Christian minority.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported 10 had died and dozens were wounded, adding that it was not immediately clear if the victims and the wounded were civilians or policemen.
An Associated Press reporter at the scene said he saw blood stains in the street and on the pavements. He said glass windows of several shops in the area were shattered and at least four cars were completely burnt.
No other details were immediately available. Islamist militant groups fighting alongside the rebels have sometimes claimed responsibility for bomb attacks against security targets in the capital.
In another party of the city, Lakhdar Brahimi, who represents the UN and the Arab League, met with Assad as part of his push for a cease-fire between rebels and government forces during the four-day Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, which begins Oct 26.
He told reporters following a closed-door meeting that he had earlier met with unidentified Syrian opposition groups inside and outside the country to consult on his truce plan. He said he received "promises" but not a "commitment" from them to honour the cease-fire.
"There is a promise to stop fighting," he said, referring to the opposition. He noted that he "found an overwhelming response" from Assad's opponents to his cease-fire plan and that "all of them have said that it's a good idea which they support."


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