A truce meant to silence the guns in Syria for a four-day Muslim festival appears to have done little to end the bloodshed. Activists say the fighting is continuing in many parts of the country.
The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported sporadic clashes in the northern city of Aleppo on Saturday, as well as heavy fighting in the province of Deir al-Zour in the east. Fighting was also reported near Damascus and in Daraa.
"Neither side seems ready to stop. The truce looks set to collapse," the head of the Observatory, Rami Abdel Rahman, told the DPA news agency.
A rebel commander shared this assessment.
"This is a failure for Brahimi," Abd al-Jaber al-Akaidi, the head of the Free Syrian Army military council in Aleppo, told the AFP news agency, referring to the United Nations-Arab League envoy who brokered the truce. “This initiative was dead before it started."
The Observatory, which says it gets its information from a nationwide network of activists and medics, put Friday's death toll at almost 150 with many more wounded. The fighting broke out a couple of hours after the guns had initially fallen silent when the cease-fire came into force on Friday morning.
UN-Arab League special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and other international officials had hoped the truce, to mark the four-day Eid al-Adha festival, would pave the way for a more permanent cease-fire to allow negotiations to end the conflict. This now appears highly unlikely.
pfd/kms (AP, dpa, AFP)