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Syria‘s state news agency, SANA, blamed the blast on a suicide bomber, saying he blew up his explosive-packed car, which was parked in the residential area. The Observatory and SANA said the explosion took place amid heavy fighting. Jobar is a scene of frequent clashes, with rebels trying to push from there toward the capital.

The army has been conducting massive sweeps through opposition strongholds around Damascus, including Jobar.

• Associated Press writers Albert Aji in Damscus and Jamal Halaby in Amman, Jordan, contributed to this article.