Although the bombs went off miles from her house, the young woman in Damascus still felt them in her gut. Boom! Her windows rattled as she ran to her computer.
"What happened?!?!?!?" she typed furiously into Skype, sending the message to her friends.
What Alexia Jade heard was the thunderous clap of two car bombs exploding outside a Syrian air force intelligence compound outside Damascus Monday night.
The web of tweeters, Facebookers and Skypers that have helped keep younger Syrians informed about the war that's been raging in their country the past year and a half answered her soon enough.
"It was a moment of slight shock when I knew that the blast was in the air force intelligence branch," she told CNN. "I have always heard stories about that place. Former detainees call it a hellhole.
"It is certainly one of the worst detaining centers ever."
Alexia Jade is not her real name. The young woman is an activist who has protested against the Syrian government, and she insisted on using an alias to protect her against reprisals for talking to reporters.
Air force intelligence, known as the AFI, is considered the elite, primary agency of Syria's intelligence matrix. There are 17 branches of Syrian intelligence, according to Syrian experts. President Bashar al-Assad relies on AFI to gather information on rebels fighting to oust him.
The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights raised the possibility that "hundreds of regime forces" were killed in the attack, but concrete casualty figures were impossible to obtain. Government opponents also said they feared for the lives of "hundreds if not thousands of anti-government detainees that are being held in the basements of the air force security compound."
The strike could hurt al-Assad because the intelligence agency is such an important branch of the president's security and spying apparatus.
"Depending on the number of people killed, this could be a severe blow to the regime," said David Lesch, a Trinity University Middle East history professor who spent a good deal of time with al-Assad in Syria before the uprising, interviewing him and those close to him. Lesch has written two books about Syria and the Assads.
"A strike at a compound like that could be a major blow symbolically but also practically with all the listening devices and tools perhaps destroyed," he said.
The air force intelligence agency runs detention facilities in major cities. In one Human Rights Watch report this year, former detainees described being beaten, whipped and electrocuted and burned with hot water and acid in a center run by air force personnel. In one account, a detainee said he was forced into a "flying carpet" position -- where someone is forced onto their belly as their arms and hands tied are tied behind them. Some detainees said they were strung up by their hands for hours at a time.
The use of torture by those who ostensibly answer to the regime has been well-documented throughout the Syrian war.
Susan Ahmad, a 31-year-old teacher who lives in a Damascus suburb, recalled feeling creeped out every time she walked past the compound.
"It was a dirty place, horrifying," she said. "I know deep in my heart there are innocent people down there being tortured. I could smell blood and hear the sounds of screams. I feel death is there."
She also felt the bombs go off.
"It was a very noisy night and hectic," she said. "There were many explosions around Damascus."
Al-Assad's army shelled Ahmad's neighborhood. She figured it was in retaliation for the bombs.
"It was clear they were freaking out and just shooting and shelling randomly," she said. "They are really intimidated and when they get afraid, they just start shooting everywhere at anything that moves in every part of Damascus."
"It is the worst feeling in the world," she continued. "The sound of the mortar when it flies directly above your building -- sssssssssss -- through the air. You lose your breath for a moment and deep in your heart you know someone was killed.
"It's really hard and really painful. I would rather be shelled than hear the sound of shelling in other areas."
Rebels fighting to oust al-Assad told CNN that they fear many detainees were killed in the blasts. Opposition forces are not the ones claiming to have targeted the Air Force Intelligence compound.
"We... fear for the lives of hundreds if not thousands of anti-government detainees that are being held in the basements of the air force security compound," said Rami Abdulrahman of the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
A shadowy jihadist group called al Nusra Front claimed to have set off the bombs, according to an online statement that appeared on jihadist websites Tuesday.