Damascus: Twin suicide car bomb blasts ripped through an upscale Damascus district on Friday, targeting security and intelligence buildings and killing at least 30 people, Syrian authorities said.

The blasts came a day after an advance team of Arab League observers arrived in the country to monitor Syria's promise to end its crackdown on protesters demanding the ouster of President Bashar Assad.

Government officials took the observers to the scene of the explosions and said it backed their longtime claims that the turmoil is not a popular uprising but the work of terrorists.

The blasts were the first such suicide bombing in Syria since the uprising began in March.

"We said it from the beginning, this is terrorism. They are killing the army and civilians," Deputy Foreign Minister Faysal Mekdad told reporters outside the intelligence building, where bodies still littered the ground.

The two blasts went off within moments of each other in the morning Friday, a weekend day, echoing across the city.

"The explosions shook the house, it was frightful," said Nidal Hamidi, 34, a Syrian journalist who lives in Kfar Sousa.

He said gunfire was heard immediately following the explosion and said apartment windows in a 200-yard (meter) radius from the explosions were shattered.

Mekdad said more than 30 people were killed and 100 wounded. Earlier, state TV said the dead were mostly civilians but included military and security personnel.

The initial investigations indicated possible involvement by the al-Qaida terror network.

Alongside him, the head of the observer advance team Sameer Seif el-Yazal said, "We are here to see the facts on the ground... What we are seeing today is regretful, the important thing is for things to calm down."

(Agencies)