At least nine dead in Syria violence

Published April 16th, 2012 - 04:19 GMT

Fierce fighting between Syrian troops and deserters was reported Monday as bombing resumed in Homs. These come on the first working day of the international observers who arrived in Damascus to assess compliance to the fragile cease-fire. At least nine civilians were killed across the country.

The first group of observers includes six unarmed members under the direction of Moroccan Colonel Ahmed Himmiche. "There is no cease-fire, not even the beginning of a political process: the mission will be one of the most difficult ever undertaken by the UN," said one UN diplomat, even though the daily death toll declined following the declaration of the truce last Thursday.

According to opposition sources, the violence has claimed the lives of 100 Syrians since the commencement of the truce on Thursday morning.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged Damascus to exercise "maximum restraint" and for the opposition to "fully cooperate", saying that "the slightest spark can stop this process of fragile cease- fire."

On Monday, an official public holiday in Syria, anti-regime rallies were held across the country. In Deraa (south), videos showed hundreds of demonstrators, mainly of deserters, carrying flags of independence and voicing their support for the Free Syrian Army (ASL).

A video also showed hundreds of protesters in Al-Habit, in the region of Idleb (northwest), "denouncing the international capitulation" and "supporting Homs and other regions attacked" by the regime forces. Anwar Bunni, a lawyer for Human Rights, said that 42 youth were still in detention after being arrested Thursday, the day of the cease-fire during a demonstration outside parliament in central Damascus.

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