A massive explosion rocked a hotel used by Syrian government troops in Aleppo Thursday; state television said it was the work of Islamic terrorists who dug tunnels beneath ancient buildings.

The government statement did not detail any casualties in the blast, but the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said government troops were killed and wounded. The SANA state news agency blamed the explosion that “left huge damage” on "terrorists."

The hotel was believed to be the Carlton, which serves as an army headquarters in the three-year-long civil war. The Islamic Front rebel group claimed responsibility for the explosion, Reuters reported.




"The explosion that was heard in Aleppo's Old City was caused by explosives planted by Islamist battalions in a tunnel beneath the Carlton hotel, which was occupied by regime troops," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told Agence France Press.

The Carlton Hotel opened its doors in March 2011, around the same time the Syrian uprising began. It used to be a hospital building.

"Terrorists targeted the historic Carlton hotel in the Old City with a big explosion, destroying it completely and destroying several historic buildings nearby," a state television broadcaster said.

According to AFP, the Carlton Hotel had been targeted for attack before. Rebels tried to blow it up in February, but the building only sustained minor damage.