The twin bombings in Damascus mark a new departure for Syria after almost a year of turmoil.
The reasons behind the attack and the identity of the perpetrators is unknown but there are various possibilities.
The government was quick to blame al Qaeda.
Al Qaeda does have a strategy of trying to further destabilise already unstable countries in order to try and collapse them and then step into the vacuum.
This has not been successful and al Qaeda is not thought to be able to operate in Syria without extreme difficulty given the pervasive presence of the domestic intelligence agencies.
Nevertheless, the possibility that it has entered the Syrian crisis remains.
The bombs struck a security and intelligence complex. This makes it possible that a breakaway faction of the uprising against the regime has decide to step up attacks against the state.
However, there were many civilian casualties and the opposition groups are trying to unite the country in their favour which this attack will not achieve.
A third scenario is one the opposition is already circulating - that the government planted the bombs itself in order to "prove" its claim that there is not a popular uprising in Syria but there are "armed terrorist groups" fomenting violence.
The attacks came the day after an advance party of Arab League observers arrived in the capital to set up a monitoring operation which should include 150 monitors by the end of the month.
Opposition groups claim the bombs were designed to persuade the monitors that the government claims are correct.
When the Arab League teams are in place they will fan out across the country in groups of 10.
The agreement Syria signed with the Arab League grants them free, unannounced access to all parts of the country and to take media with them.
A test of the agreement will come when a team attempts to go to one of the flashpoint cities such as Homs and Deera.