Skip to main content

Opposition: While Syria awaits more U.N. monitors, cities under fire again

By the CNN Wire Staff
April 23, 2012 -- Updated 0152 GMT (0952 HKT)
  • NEW: Fresh explosions shake Homs early Monday, an opposition group says
  • The group reports 19 deaths across Syria on Sunday
  • Kofi Annan: This is a pivotal moment for stabilizing Syria
  • A man begs for U.N. monitors to stay in Homs because "when you come, shelling stops"

Are you there? Send us your images or video. Also, read this report in Arabic.

(CNN) -- Strong explosions rocked the devastated city of Homs early on Monday, opposition activists said, just days after the U.N. Security Council voted to send as many as 300 observers to monitor a tenuous cease-fire in Syria.

The explosions, which were followed by gunfire, shook the hard-hit neighborhoods of Baba Amr and Inshaat, according the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, a network of opposition activists.

The group also reported heavy gunfire in the neighborhood of Khaldiyeh.

The violence was an extension of weekend shelling that erupted after a temporary halt Saturday, when two U.N. monitors were in the besieged city.

At least 19 people throughout the country were killed Sunday, including six in Homs, according to the Local Coordination Committees. Deaths were also reported in Idlib, Daraa and the Damascus suburbs.

UN approves expanding Syrian mission
U.N. to meet as Syria violence continues
Day of defiance in Syria
Clinton: Syrian leader running out of time

"Today is the first day since two months ... Homs (is) without shelling," one man told the monitors Saturday. "When you come, shelling stops."

He begged for the observers to stay in Homs, a bastion of anti-government sentiment that has faced months of deadly attacks by regime forces, opposition activists say.

The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Saturday to authorize as many as 300 unarmed military monitors to try to bring about compliance with a cease-fire imposed earlier this month.

The cease-fire is part of a six-point peace plan laid out by U.N.-Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan and accepted by the Syrian government. The Annan plan calls for the government and the opposition to end the violence, allow access for humanitarian groups release detainees and start a political dialogue.

But reports of daily violence suggest the cease-fire is unraveling in some areas.

Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, warned that while Washington supports expanding the U.N. monitoring mission, it may "not agree to renew" the mission at the end of 90 days.

"If there is not a sustained cessation of violence, full freedom of movement for U.N. personnel and rapid, meaningful progress on all other aspects of the six-point plan, then we must all conclude this mission has run its course," Rice said. "Our patience is exhausted."

Annan applauded the Security Council's decision on the monitoring mission, saying it is a pivotal moment for stabilizing Syria.

"The work of the mission should help create the conditions conducive to launching the much needed political process, which would address the legitimate concerns and aspirations of the Syrian people," Annan said in a statement Sunday.

Syrian security forces will exercise the "utmost degree of restraint," but also remain prepared to defend their national interests against terrorists, Syrian U.N. Ambassador Bashar Jaafari said Saturday.

Syria has consistently blamed "armed terrorist groups" for the violence wracking the country.

The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency said Sunday an armed terrorist group used an improvised explosive device to attack a train carrying food in the Idlib countryside, wounding six.

Terrorists also attacked a bus carrying officers and soldiers along a road between Raqqa and Aleppo, killing one and injuring 42, SANA reported.

The Security Council previously approved the deployment of an advance team of 30 monitors meant to pave the way for the larger group of observers. The United Nations and Syria reached agreement Thursday on a protocol for the advance monitoring team and other observers.

Reports of bloodshed dropped in the days immediately after the cease-fire began, but activists have reported increased violence and attacks since then, with scores of people reportedly killed.

CNN cannot independently verify reports of violence and deaths, as the government has severely restricted access by international media.

Syria has been engulfed in violence for 13 months, since the government started a fierce crackdown on peaceful protests against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, whose family has ruled Syria for 42 years.

The United Nations estimates that at least 9,000 people have died since the protests began, while activist groups put the death toll at more than 11,000.

CNN's Saad Abedine, Joe Vaccarello and Holly Yan contributed to this report.

Part of complete coverage on
Syrian crisis
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 1448 GMT (2248 HKT)
As a 10-year-old, this boy first hit the headlines in 1982 when he saved his cat from a fire. This year, he was reported to be a suicide bomber.
September 5, 2014 -- Updated 1803 GMT (0203 HKT)
Aqsa Mahmood,19, would listen to Coldplay and read Harry Potter books. Then this Glasgow girl became an ISIS bride.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 0823 GMT (1623 HKT)
The little boy looks barely old enough to walk, let alone understand the dark world he's now inhabiting.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 0422 GMT (1222 HKT)
ISIS has released video of the aftermath of a mass execution. Another video shows alleged captured Peshmerga soldiers.
August 30, 2014 -- Updated 0933 GMT (1733 HKT)
The number of people who have fled Syria and registered as refugees amid the country's civil war will surpass 3 million Friday.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1849 GMT (0249 HKT)
Douglas McAuthur McCain, 33, grew up in the Minneapolis area, but died more than 6,000 miles away in Syria, fighting for ISIS.
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 2054 GMT (0454 HKT)
If the United States is serious about thoroughly defeating ISIS, it must, somehow, go through Syria.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 1243 GMT (2043 HKT)
Jihadists have kidnapped over 140 Kurdish boys to "brainwash" them. But a few boys made a daring escape.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
Reports that Syrian warplanes carried out a cross-border attack on Iraqi towns is further evidence of the blurring of the two countries' borders.
June 24, 2014 -- Updated 2133 GMT (0533 HKT)
CNN's Atika Shubert speaks to a father whose teenage son joined the Jihad movement in Syria.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 1141 GMT (1941 HKT)
At the start of Syria's civil unrest, Omar would rally against the government alongside his schoolmates, later taking to the streets in his hometown of Salqin.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 2117 GMT (0517 HKT)
Atika Shubert looks at the rise of European jihadists traveling to Syria and whether they soon could join ISIS in Iraq.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
The final stockpile of Syria's chemical weapons has been shipped out of the country, according to the OPCW, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
June 25, 2014 -- Updated 2025 GMT (0425 HKT)
The US isn't doing airstrikes in Iraq. Is there a vacuum for Syria and Iran to step in? CNN's Fareed Zakaria weighs in.
June 10, 2014 -- Updated 0804 GMT (1604 HKT)
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports on Syrian rebels using underground explosions against the better-equipped regime.
June 9, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh returns to the besieged rebel areas of Aleppo, a pale skeleton of a city that has had the life bombed out of it.
June 2, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
Syria may be embroiled in a brutal three-year civil war, but that's not stopping the government from holding presidential elections.
June 3, 2014 -- Updated 1123 GMT (1923 HKT)
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh meets an ISIS defector in hiding and gets a rare look into the group's recruitment process.
June 5, 2014 -- Updated 1610 GMT (0010 HKT)
Over a thousand Syrian refugees have turned an abandoned shopping mall in Lebanon into makeshift living quarters.
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 1616 GMT (0016 HKT)
More than 100,000 people reportedly have been killed in Syria since a popular uprising in 2011 spiraled into a civil war.