Syria Fighting Rages on Third Day of UN-Brokered Truce

Syrian forces shelled regions around the capital, Damascus, on the third day of a United Nations-brokered cease-fire, as the government and rebels blamed each other for breaching the truce.

Government forces carried out three air raids around the cities of Harasta, Arbeen and Zamalka, according to a report by the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Armed groups opened fire on army checkpoints in the city of Deir Azzour, prompting government forces to attack back and kill “a number of terrorists,” the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency said.

At least 120 people were killed yesterday, the U.K.-based observatory said on its Facebook page. Some 150 Syrians were killed a day earlier, including 58 unarmed civilians, it said.

The agreement to respect the truce negotiated by UN special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi during Eid al-Adha, the most important Muslim holiday, is the first time since April that the two sides said they would stop fighting. Neither upheld the previous cease-fire, arranged by Brahimi’s predecessor, Kofi Annan, though the truce slowed the pace of killing for a few days.

At least 35,000 people have been killed since the uprising against Assad’s government began 19 months ago, according to the observatory. The UN has registered more than 350,000 Syrians who have fled from their homeland to escape the conflict that has spilled over into Lebanon and Turkey.

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