Syria bombards major cities, further undermining truce, say activists

Reuters reports: Syrian opposition activists reported a return to heavy government bombardment in major cities on Saturday, further undermining a truce intended to mark the Muslim Eid al-Adha religious holiday.

Activists in the eastern city of Deir al-Zor, the suburbs of Damascus and in Aleppo, where rebels hold roughly half of Syria’s most populous city, said that mortar bombs were being fired into residential areas on Saturday morning.

The bombardment came on the second day of a truce called by international peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who had hoped to use it to build broader moves towards ending the 19-month-old conflict which has killed an estimated 32,000 people.

“The army began firing mortars at 7 a.m. I have counted 15 explosions in one hour and we already have two civilians killed,” said Mohammed Doumany, an activist from the Damascus suburb of Douma, where pockets of rebels are based. “I can’t see any difference from before the truce and now,” he added.

The Syrian military has said it responded to attacks by insurgents on army positions on Friday, in line with its announcement on Thursday that it would cease military activity during the holiday but reserved the right to react to rebel actions.

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