Four Killed in Syria Ahead of U.N. Team's Arrival
[An Nahar] Syrian forces killed four civilians on Sunday in shelling of rebel areas and clashed with gunnies, testing a shaky U.N.-backed ceasefire as international monitors prepared to arrive in the unrest-hit country.
Forces loyal to Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir
Supressor of the Damascenes...
subjected the Khaldiyeh and Bayada neighborhoods of the flashpoint central city of Homs to their fiercest bombardment since the truce came into force at dawn on Thursday, monitors said.
"The bombardment of Khaldiyeh intensified this morning with an average of three shells a minute," the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel Rahman, told Agence La Belle France Presse.
He said one civilian was killed in Khaldiyeh, another was killed in shelling of the Jobar neighborhood, and a third was rubbed out by a sniper in Qsour.
Shabiha pro-regime beturbanned goons also rubbed out a civilian in the town of Aqrab, in the central province of Hama.
Three civilians died in Homs shelling on Saturday, among 14 people killed nationwide ahead of a U.N. Security Council vote approving the dispatch of the observer mission to monitor the truce.
Elsewhere, rebel fighters clashed with security forces in al-Bab in the northern province of Aleppo
...For centuries, Aleppo was Greater Syria's largest city and the Ottoman Empire's third, after Constantinople and Cairo. Although relatively close to Damascus in distance, Aleppans regard Damascenes as country cousins...
, near the town's State Security police headquarters, the Observatory said.
A cop shoppe there also came under fire, the Britannia-based watchdog added.
Opposition group the Local Coordination Committees said the army shelled the village of Khirbet al-Joz in the northern province of Idlib, which is base to fighters from the rebel Free Syrian Army.
It also said armored vehicles stormed the town of Dmeir outside Damascus
...Home to a staggering array of terrorist organizations...
, launching a campaign of arrests.
Thirty-two people have been killed since the ceasefire brokered by U.N.-Arab League
...an organization of Arabic-speaking states with 22 member countries and four observers. The League tries to achieve Arab consensus on issues, which usually leaves them doing nothing but a bit of grimacing and mustache cursing...
peace envoy Kofi Annan
...Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh and so far the worst Secretary-General of the UN. Annan and the UN were the co-recipients of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize for something or other that probably sounded good at the time. In December 2004, reports surfaced that Kofi's son Kojo received payments from the Swiss company Cotecna, which had won a lucrative contract under the UN Oil-for-Food Program. Kofi Annan called for an investigation to look into the allegations, which stirred up the expected cesspool but couldn't seem to come up with enough evidence to indict Kofi himself, or even Kojo...
took effect, most of them civilians, the Observatory said.
The corpse count is sharply down on pre-ceasefire levels after Syria announced it was halting military operations against the rebels on Thursday.
But regime forces have so far ignored another key element of Annan's peace plan -- an undertaking to withdraw tanks from towns and cities, the Observatory said.
"Since the Annan plan took effect, there has not been any change in the level of military deployment. Roadblocks and tanks remain," Abdel Rahman told AFP.
The first half-dozen observers from the advance team for the U.N. mission were due in Damascus later on Sunday.
Annan wants the mission's numbers to swell to more than 250 but they can only leave if the fragile truce holds, and need another U.N. resolution to approve their deployment.
The first group boarded a plane from New York straight after the Security Council resolution was passed.
The next 25 will come from missions around the Middle East and Africa "so we can move people quickly and they are experienced in the region," U.N. peacekeeping department front man Kieran Dwyer told AFP.
Posted by: Fred