Bomb explodes near Syrian capital; 16 killed

A car bomb in a town near Damascus has killed 16 people and wounded more than 25, including women and children.

BEIRUT — Sixteen people were killed and more than 25 wounded, including women and children, in a car bomb in Qatana, a town 15 miles southwest of Damascus, Lebanon's al-Manar television channel said Thursday.

Qatana is part of a string of outlying suburbs and towns where President Bashar al-Assad's forces have been trying to push back rebels. The attack follows three bombs which exploded at the Interior Ministry on Wednesday evening, killing five.

The blast comes as rebels seeking to oust Assad have been edging closer to Damascus, his seat of power.

The regime blames such bombings on "terrorists," its shorthand for rebel fighters.

Rebels have been making gains against government forces in the capital's suburbs though most of the city is still beyond their reach.

Anti-regime activists say more than 40,000 people have been killed since the start of the anti-Assad uprising in March 2011.

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