BEIRUT (AP) — A car bomb blew up late Thursday in a Damascus gas station, killing at least nine people, a Syrian activist group said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the death toll in the blast in the capital's Masakin Barzeh neighborhood is expected to rise because many of the wounded were in critical condition.

Syria's state news service also reported the blast but did not give a number of dead or wounded. It said the bomb targeted cars that were lined up to get gas and blamed the attack on "terrorists," the government's shorthand for rebels seeking to topple President Bashar Assad.

The pro-regime Ikhbariyeh TV station said some 30 civilians were killed or wounded in the blast.

Despite gains in other parts of Syria by rebels seeking to topple Assad, he has largely kept his grip on the capital.

But Damascus has been targeted by a number of large bombings, many of which appear to target government buildings. Some have been claimed by the jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra, which the U. S. has designated a terrorist organization.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Thursday's blast.

Masakin Barzeh is a middle-class neighborhood northeast of downtown that is home to many government employees.

The U. N. says more than 60,000 people have been killed in Syria since the start of the uprising in March 2011. The conflict has since evolved into a civil war.

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