In Focus | Syria

Syria ceasefire collapses, watchdog says

But there is still less violence and fewer victims than usual

  • AFP
  • Published: 16:26 October 26, 2012
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: EPA
  • Syrian President Bashar Al Assad (C) at the end of Eid Al Adha prayers at Al Afram Mosque in Al Muhajirin area in Damascus, Syria, 26 October 2012.

Beirut: A ceasefire between the Syrian army and rebel forces that took effect on Friday has collapsed in several regions amid fighting, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

“The ceasefire has collapsed in several regions of Syria but there is still less violence and fewer victims than usual,” Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

In Damascus, clashes erupted between rebels and troops in the southern neighbourhood of Assali while a car bomb exploded in the nearby district of Tadamun, where a separate car bombing killed six people two days before.

On the capital’s northeastern outskirts, three men were killed in the town of Harasta, one by mortar fire and two by army snipers, while another man was killed by sniper fire in nearby Irbin, the Britain-based Observatory said.

“There are no reports of fighting at the moment in [Harasta], which saw violent clashes over the past few days,” the watchdog said.

In the central city of Homs, one civilian was killed as the army rained shells on the rebel-held Khaldiyah district, while shooting broke out from army checkpoints in the town of Tal Kalakh on the border with Lebanon.

In a video posted to Youtube by activists in Homs, clouds of black smoke can be seen rising into the sky among bombed out buildings as three explosions rock the area within a minute.

“Homs, from the heart of the besieged area. Homs city is being bombed on the first day of Eid,” screams a man from behind the shaking camera.

“God is greatest,” he wails.

This video cannot be verified independently due to severe media restrictions imposed by the regime.

The Observatory said security forces also fired at demonstrators, who came out for weekly anti-regime protests, but the regime and main rebels groups have not indicated they would abandon the truce.

“Violent clashes started around 10.30am (0730 GMT) around the Wadi Deif base. The army responded by bombing the neighbouring village of Deir Sharqi,” Abdul Rahman told AFP.

He said that among the rebels at the battle were members of the Islamist Al Nusra Front, which said it would not respect the truce between President Bashar Al Assad’s regime and the main rebel Free Syrian Army group.

The 19-month Syrian conflict, which began as a peaceful uprising but steadily militarised after being met with violent state repression, has cost more than 35,000 lives according to the Observatory.

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