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Syria clashes continues as ceasefire deadline arrives

Category: Headlines

Published: 10th Apr 2012 08:05:46

Violence has continued in Syria despite a UN-backed deadline for a complete withdrawal of troops and weapons coming into effect.

Shelling was reported in Homs early on Tuesday, and there were clashes on the Turkish and Lebanese border overnight.

More than 100 people - many of them civilians - were killed on Monday, reports say.

Damascus had agreed to the deadline but insisted on written guarantees first that its opponents will give up arms.

Under the plan - negotiated by the UN and Arab League's special envoy on the Syrian crisis, Kofi Annan - Syrian troops were to begin withdrawing from cities by Tuesday ahead of a full ceasefire coming into place on Thursday.

But Washington said late on Monday there were "no signs yet of the Assad regime abiding by its commitments".

Activists in Syria reported that government troops had been shelling the western city of Homs since early on Tuesday morning, while military activity was also reported in Aleppo and other areas.

Meanwhile, several people in a refugee camp in Turkey have been injured by shots fired across the border from inside Syria. Witnesses told the Associated Press news agency that at least two people had died.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the incident on Sunday was a "clear violation" of its borders and that his country would "take the necessary measures" in response.

Turkey has seen a sharp rise in the number of refugees coming over the border in the past week, and now hosts some 24,000 Syrians, including hundreds of army defectors.

Mr Annan will visit some of the Turkish camps on Tuesday to assess the situation and hear from people who have fled the violence.

Separately, a Lebanese cameraman was shot dead on Lebanon's northern border with Syria.

Syria's government, under President Bashar al-Assad, had previously agreed to Mr Annan's plan. But on Sunday, Damascus called for written guarantees from rebel fighters to end attacks and a promise from foreign states not to fund them.

It said it did not want the rebels to exploit any troop withdrawal to reorganise and rearm themselves.

The Free Syrian Army, the main armed rebel group, said it backed the truce but refused to meet the government's new demands.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called on Syria to "immediately cease all military actions against civilians and fulfil all of its commitments".

The BBC's Jim Muir in Beirut says that if there are hopes for salvaging the peace place, they are pinned on Syria's international allies - Russia, China and Iran. They have generally defended the regime, but also support the Annan mission.

Syria's foreign minister is in Moscow for talks in the hope of shoring up support for Damascus, while Mr Annan is travelling to Tehran with the aim of securing Iranian backing for his plan.

The UN says more than 9,000 people have been killed in the uprising against Mr Assad's rule which began more than a year ago.

The Syrian government says 2,000 security personnel have been killed in the uprising and blames the violence on "armed gangs" and "terrorists".

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BBC News, 2012. Syria clashes continues as ceasefire deadline arrives [Online] (Updated 10th Apr 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1421442/Syria-clashes-continues-as-ceasefire-deadline-arrives [Accessed 19th Apr 2014]

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