More than 20 killed in latest Syria cease-fire breaches | News | DW | 01.05.2012
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More than 20 killed in latest Syria cease-fire breaches

The UN secretary general's latest call for both parties to the Syrian conflict to fully implement a cease-fire has fallen on deaf ears. At least 22 people were reported killed in the latest violence.

There was more evidence on Tuesday that a cease-fire meant to be the first step in a peace plan for Syria has yet to be fully implemented.

At least 12 government soldiers were killed in clashes with rebels outside an army base in Syria's eastern province of Deir al-Zor, according to a widely quoted London-based human rights group.

"The clashes, during which machinegun fire was used, took place in the Byousayra area," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Earlier, it reported that 10 civilians had been killed after government forces attacked a village in the northwestern Idlib province. Nine of the dead were members of the same family who were killed when a mortar round slammed into their home.

Meanwhile, the Local Coordination Committees reported that at least six people had been killed after troops fired at protesters in the capital, Damascus, late on Monday.

Such reports are nearly impossible to independently verify as the government has banned most foreign journalists from reporting in the country.

A call for compliance

The latest violence came just hours after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on the government of President Bashar al-Assad and rebel forces to fully implement the peace plan.

"While noting improvements in areas where UN monitors are deployed, the secretary general remains gravely concerned by reports of continued violence, killing and abuses in Syria in recent days," a statement released by Ban's office said.

The statement also called "for armed violence in all its forms by all parties to cease immediately and full cooperation of all parties with the work of [the] UN Supervision Mission in Syria as it expands its presence on the ground."

There are currently 30 UN observers in Syria, but only a handful have been deployed beyond Damascus. The US is hoping to expand the mission swiftly. A UN Security Council resolution authorized a mission of as many as 300 observers.

The cease-fire and observer mission are part of a six-point peace plan drafted by the UN-Arab League peace envoy for Syria, Kofi Annan.

pfd/ncy (AFP, Reuters)