Clashes and air strikes mark third day of Syria’s ‘truce’
Syrian regime forces shelled suburbs of the capital Damascus on the third day of what was meant to be a four-day holiday cease-fire, activists said on Sunday. They added that government troops and opposition forces were clashed in several areas of the country.
A U.N-backed truce declared for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha has largely unraveled. More than 150 people were killed Friday, the start of the holiday, and more than 120 people on the second day, on par with previous daily casualty tolls.
Warplanes bombarded the suburbs of Damascus, targeting Zamalka, Harasta, and other neighboring areas.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that opposition forces took control of three military posts in the outer Damascus suburb of Douma and killed four soldiers at another checkpoint in the region.
In Aleppo, a young woman was killed there by shelling while fighting erupted near a strategic military barracks in the center of the northern city.
The fighting came after the failure of efforts to impose a four-day ceasefire in the battle-scarred country for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, which started on Friday.
The truce collapsed only hours after it began amid clashes, shelling and car bomb attacks, with 114 killed on Saturday, including 47 civilians, 36 soldiers and 31 rebels, said the Observatory.
The three military positions in Douma -- a 14-storey building that had housed regime snipers and two checkpoints -- were taken following heavy fighting, said the Observatory’s director, Rami Abdel Rahman.
“It is a sign that the regime is not able to keep control of positions in the long term,” he said.
According to the Observatory, more than 35,000 people have been killed in the 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, lawyers and medics in civilian and military hospitals. It says its tolls take into account civilians, military, and rebel casualties.