Story highlights

The bomber struck a group getting medical services at the charity

The attack occurred near a major Syrian church

Four are dead and eight are wounded, government media say

CNN —  

A man blew himself up at a charity agency in the Syrian capital of Damascus on Thursday, causing deaths and injuries, opposition activist groups and the government media reported.

At least four people died and eight others were wounded in the Bab Touma neighborhood, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency said. The suicide bomber detonated his explosives among people getting medical services at the Dar al-Ihsan charity, the agency said.

The spot is near the prominent Mariamite Cathedral of Damascus, one of the oldest Greek Orthodox churches in the capital and the seat of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch.

Christians are among the groups that have been caught in the crossfire of the country’s civil war, in which a Sunni-dominated opposition is taking on a government dominated by Alawites.

Since the Syrian conflict started in March 2011 and then morphed into a civil war, fighting has left well over 90,000 people dead, the United Nations said. One opposition group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said it has documented more than 100,000 deaths. The violence has caused widespread dislocation, and the unrest has spread into neighboring countries, such as Lebanon.

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From CNN’s Amir Ahmed and Saad Abedine