Almost 150 killed on first day of Syria truce, watchdog finds
Almost 150 people died on the first day of a barely-observed truce between the warring parties in Syria, a watchdog said, adding that a fresh clashes on Saturday claimed more lives.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said of the 146 people killed in bombings, artillery fire and fighting on Friday, 53 were civilians, 50 were rebels and 43 were members of President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.
The Syrian regime and most rebel commanders had agreed to a truce brokered by UN peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi from the start Friday of the four-day Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, but the calm lasted only a few hours before fighting erupted.
After a day of clashes across most flashpoints of the Syrian conflict, army commanders announced late on Friday that Assad’s forces were still engaged in “fighting against armed terrorist groups,” the regime’s term for rebels.
Fresh violence on Saturday killed four people including a child, in clashes and shelling in Damascus province, the northern city of Aleppo, Daraa in the south and the eastern city of Deir Ezzor.
Regime shelling targeted several areas of Damascus province, where one person was killed by army sniper fire and another in the bombardments, according to the Observatory.
Two people, including a child, were killed by gunfire in Daraa, while in Deir Ezzor violent clashes between regime forces and rebels followed a large explosion in the city.
Shelling of various areas of Aleppo wounded several people, the Britain-based watchdog added.
According to the Observatory, more than 35,000 people have been killed in 19 months of conflict, which began as an anti-regime uprising but is now a civil war pitting mainly Sunni rebels against Assad’s regime dominated by his minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.
The Britain-based Observatory relies on a countrywide network of activists and medics in civilian and military hospitals. It says its tolls take into account civilian, military, and rebel casualties.