Shelling Resumes in Syria Despite Ceasefire Agreement
“An opposition source, who asked to remain anonymous as he feared retaliation from his own side, said that army shelling came after rebels ambushed government troops in the city on Friday night.”
SANA, the Syrian state news agency, has continually blamed attacks on “armed terrorist groups” rather than government forces. In this instance, the blame was again centered on “armed terrorist groups” who “opened fire randomly and attacked public and private property.”
“Hopes that the truce would put an end to the bullets that have frightened off peaceful protesters for months were quashed when forces loyal to Assad shot dead five protesters after Friday prayers, activists reported.
“They said that security forces came out in strength in many cities to prevent protesters from mounting major rallies against Assad.”
The UN Security Council will vote Saturday on “a revised Western-drafted resolution allowing a ceasefire observer mission in Syria,” but Russia’s support for the mission remains in doubt. Russia and China previously vetoed two UN resolutions against the Syrian government. “The United States called for the vote after a second day of wrangling with Russia over security guarantees for the first 30 unarmed military monitors that Kofi Annan, the UN-Arab League peace envoy, wants in Syria early next week,” according to Al Jazeera.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad recently accepted Kofi Annan’s peace plan, and the recent shelling of Homs is in direct violation to it. The new resolution for a ceasefire observer mission, proposed by the United States, warns of “further measures” if the peace plan’s requirements are not “implement[ed] visibly.” Yet, Russia revised the new resolution, “taking out the demand for ‘unimpeded’ access and any reference to measures that could be taken if the Syrian government was deemed to be in non-compliance with the resolution. It also took out condemnation of alleged human rights abuses in Syria,” Al Jazeera explains.
More than 9,000 people have been killed in Syria in the past year since the beginning of the uprising against President Assad. As Reuters explains,
“International pressure has grown for Syria to fulfil all its commitments to peace envoy Kofi Annan by withdrawing troops and heavy weapons, permitting humanitarian and media access, releasing prisoners and discussing a political transition.”