02/25/2013 02:36 pm ET Updated Apr 27, 2013

Damascus Explosion Shakes Eastern Neighborhood Of Syrian Capital

(Recasts with death toll)

BEIRUT, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Five members of Syria's security forces were killed by a car bomb in eastern Damascus on Monday, and the blast was followed by heavy clashes between rebels and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, a monitoring group said.

The force of the explosion in the Qaboun neighbourhood shook the Syrian capital at around 9 p.m. (1900 GMT), residents said.

State television and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has monitored the violence in Syria since the uprising against Assad erupted nearly two years ago, said the blast was caused by a car bomb.

The Observatory said rebels were clashing with security forces and that mortars had been fired in the area.

Monday's blast followed a series of car bombs in the capital on Thursday, the biggest of which killed at least 60 people in the Mazraa district of Damascus, according to activists. (Editing by Jon Hemming)