A suicide bomber has killed at least five people in central Damascus, state TV says.

It is the latest in a wave of blasts in Syrian cities in recent months, despite a diplomatic push to end the year-old crisis.

An uprising against President Bashar Assad that began in March 2011 with largely peaceful protests has grown into an armed insurgency.

Also today, thousands protested elsewhere to denounce persistent violence by Assad’s regime.

Yesterday at least 16 people died in a massive blast that flattened parts of a residential area in the city of Hama.

State media blamed anti-regime bomb-makers for accidentally setting off the blast but activists said intense shelling by the regime was responsible.