Middle East

Syria interior ministry hit by explosions - state media

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Media captionState television footage believed to show the damaged interior ministry

The building of the Syrian interior ministry in the capital Damascus has been targeted by three explosions, according to state TV.

One of the blasts was caused by a car bomb, the report said.

There had been "a number of deaths and injuries" and damage to the building.

Meanwhile, members of a group of more than 100 countries have recognised Syria's opposition coalition as the "legitimate representative" of the Syrian people.

Foreign ministers from the Friends of Syria group made the decision to recognise the opposition National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Force after talks in Morocco.

'Huge explosion'

The interior ministry building is in the Kafar Souseh district, an area on the south-western outskirts of the capital where fighting has previously been reported between government forces and rebels.

The main entrance of the building was damaged by the blasts, state TV said.

A resident of Kafar Souseh told the Reuters news agency she heard sirens and shooting after a "huge explosion".

Earlier on Wednesday, one person was killed and several were injured in two car bombs near the justice ministry in the suburb of Jaramana, according to state-run news agency Sana.

Fighting in Damascus' southern suburbs has intensified in recent weeks as rebels try to close in on the capital.

'Big step'

Recognition of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Force by the Friends of Syria group is viewed as a vital step towards increasing supplies of aid, and possibly arms, to the coalition, which was formed last month.

The UK, France, Turkey and Gulf states had already given their recognition to the group.

Image caption France's foreign minister said the Friends of Syria had decided "not to move" on arming the rebels

On Tuesday they were joined by the US. President Barack Obama told ABC News that the National Coalition was now inclusive, reflective and representative enough for Washington to take this "big step".

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called the decision of the Friends of Syria "extraordinary progress" but sounded a cautious note on arming the rebels.

"For now we have decided not to move on this. We shall see in the coming months," he said.

Russia said the US had decided to place all its bets on the coalition achieving an "armed victory".

The leader of the National Coalition, cleric Moaz al-Khatib, also criticised a US decision to put an Islamist militia active in Syria on its list of banned terrorist organisations.

US US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton blacklisted the Al-Nusra Front on Tuesday, saying the US believes the group to be linked to al-Qaeda.

However, Mr Khatib said the decision should be "reviewed".

"We can have ideological and political differences with certain parties, but the revolutionaries all share the same goal: to overthrow the criminal regime," Mr Khatib said.

Also on Wednesday, medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said tens of thousands of people, many of them wounded, were trapped in the eastern city of Deir el-Zor due to intense fighting and aerial bombardments.

The charity has made what it called an "unprecedented" appeal for the sick and wounded to be evacuated to safer locations and for international medical teams to be given official authorisation to provide assistance.