A series of bomb blasts are reported to have hit a hilltop district in the Syrian capital, Damascus.

The area is populated by members of President Bashar al-Assad's Alawite sect.

The attack occurred a day after deadly tit-for-tat attacks in segregated neighbourhoods of the capital.

The attacks are deepening the sectarian divide between the Alawite sect and Sunnis leading the 19-month revolt against the Assad family rule.

Smoke was seen rising from Mezze 86, which is situated near the presidential palace, from what appeared to be heavy-calibre mortar bombs.

Syrian state television said the attack was carried out by mortar bombs, causing casualties, but gave no further details.

A car bomb exploded yesterday near a mosque in al-Qadam, a southern working-class Sunni neighbourhood of the capital, killing and wounding dozens, opposition activists said.

Al-Qadam, from where rebels operate, has been the target of heavy Syrian army artillery barrages in the last several weeks. Syrian warplanes have also hit the area.

Earlier, in Hai al-Wuroud, an Alawite neighbourhood on a hill on the northwest edge of the city, a bombing killed at least ten people, according to state media.

Bomb attacks along sectarian lines have escalated lately in the  uprising against Mr Assad.

Last month several bombs exploded during the Muslim Eid holiday near mosques in Sunni districts and the Damascus suburbs, killing and injuring dozens of people, activists said.