Syrian security forces inspect the wreckage of a suicide bomber's car at the site of the blast in Damascus. (Syrian Arab News Agency / December 23, 2011)

Twin suicide car bomb blasts ripped through an upscale Damascus district Friday, targeting security and intelligence buildings and killing at least 30 people, Syrian authorities said.

The blasts came a day after an advance team of Arab League observers arrived in the country to monitor Syria's promise to end its crackdown on protesters demanding the ouster of President Bashar Assad. Government officials took the observers to the scene of the explosions and said it backed their longtime claims that the turmoil is not a popular uprising but the work of terrorists.

The blasts were the first such suicide bombing in Syria since the uprising began in March.

"We said it from the beginning, this is terrorism. They are killing the army and civilians," Deputy Foreign Minister Faysal Mekdad told reporters outside the intelligence building, where bodies still littered the ground. State TV said initial investigations indicated possible involvement by the Al Qaeda terror network.

Alongside him, the head of the observer advance team, Sameer Seif el-Yazal said, "We are here to see the facts on the ground. … What we are seeing today is regretful, the important thing is for things to calm down."

Outside the intelligence building, mutilated and torn bodies lay amid rubble, twisted debris and burned cars on the main avenue in Damascus' upscale Kfar Sousa district. Bystanders and ambulance workers used blankets and stretchers to carry blood-stained bodies into vehicles. All the windows were shattered in the nearby state security building, which was targeted by the other bomb.

The two blasts went off within moments of each other in the morning Friday, a weekend day, echoing across the city.

"The explosions shook the house, it was frightful," said Nidal Hamidi, 34, a Syrian journalist who lives in Kfar Sousa. He said gunfire was heard immediately following the explosion and said apartment windows in a 200-yard radius from the explosions were shattered.