UN peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has warned the situation in Syria is "getting worse." Warplanes launched their heaviest airstrikes yet on Monday as two car bombs hit the capital, violating a would-be four-day ceasefire.
Anti-regime activists in Syria described the air raids on Monday as the worst to hit the capital during the 19-month conflict. "More than 100 buildings have been destroyed, some leveled to the ground, said opposition activist Moaz al-Shami. "Whole neighborhoods are deserted."
The onslaught was followed by two car bombings which struck in and around Damascus. The first hit the predominately Christian and Druze area of Jaramana, just outside the capital. According to state news agency SANA, 11 people were killed. Hours later the second bombing caused an unknown number of casualties in the southern Al-Hajar Al Aswad district.
The latest violence came of what would have been the fourth and final day of a UN-brokered ceasefire designed to mark the Muslim relgious holiday Eid al-Adha. It was conditionally agreed to by the regime and the rebel Free Syrian Army - but it disintegrated after fighting continued over the weekend.
UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi lamented the failure of the truce on Monday, but vowed to press on with peace efforts.
"I have said and it bears repeating again and again that the Syrian crisis is very very dangerous, the situation is bad and getting worse, Brahimi told a news conference in Moscow, where he met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
"I am terribly sorry ... that this [ceasefire] appeal has not been heard to the level we hoped it would, but that will not discourage us. It will not discourage us because Syria is very important and the people of Syria deserve our support and interest."
He added there were no immediate plans to send UN peacekeepers into Syria.
UN chief laments cease-fire collapse
On Monday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his own deep disappointment at the failure of the ceasefire.
Ban said that the suffering would only grow as long as international powers remain divided on how to stop the fighting.
"I am deeply disappointed that the parties failed to respect the call to suspend fighting," Ban said from Seoul, where he was accepting a peace prize.
"This crisis cannot be solved with more weapons and bloodshed. I repeat my call for the Security Council, the regional countries and the region to support Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi's mission to help move forward on a political track," Ban said.
ccp, jr/dr (Reuters, AFP, AP)