Government troops have reportedly shelled suburbs of Damascus. The assaults came hours after the UN Security Council voted to send 300 monitors in a bid to salvage a plan to stop 13 months of violence in Syria.
Anti-government activists said government troops backed by tanks assaulted towns on the outskirts of Damascus on Sunday, killing three people. Two of the victims were reported to have been killed in the town of Douma. Another person was killed in the village of Hteita, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a group based in Britain, said.
UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan demanded the regime of President Bashar al-Assad stop using "heavy weapons" in a statement on Sunday.
Fighting stops for monitors
An advance team of eight monitors has been travelling around Syria since Thursday. So far, the violence tends to taper off before they visit a location.
"This UN observers thing is a big joke," Mohammed Saeed, an activist in Douma told the Associated Press. "Shelling stops and tanks are hidden when they visit somewhere, and when they leave, shelling resumes."
Two of the monitors had decided to remain in the dissident city of Homs after residents asked them to stay, one of the group said on Sunday. Activists had said that Saturday, the day the observers arrived, was the first day since February 5 that government troops had not fired on the city.
The other six observers were continuing their work in other parts of the country.
The cease-fire began on April 12. Though it has curbed the violence, it has not put an end to the bloodshed.
ncy/tj (AP, Reuters, AFP, dapd)