Little hope of new truce in Syria

2012-10-22 20:20
A Syrian civilian is shot in his stomach as he tries to escape the line-of-fire after he was targeted by a Syrian army sniper in the Bustan al-Qasr neighbourhood of Aleppo, Syria. (Narciso Contreras, AP)

A Syrian civilian is shot in his stomach as he tries to escape the line-of-fire after he was targeted by a Syrian army sniper in the Bustan al-Qasr neighbourhood of Aleppo, Syria. (Narciso Contreras, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Damascus - Hopes of a truce being implemented in war-torn Syria during this week's Muslim Eid holidays are "slim," the Arab League said on Monday, as heavy fighting erupted in Damascus and on northern battlefields.

UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi had on Sunday indicated a favourable response to his appeal to both sides of the Syrian conflict to observe a truce during the four-day Eid al-Adha holiday, which begins on Friday.

But Arab League deputy secretary general Ahmed Ben Helli told AFP Monday that there is little chance of such a truce coming into effect.

"Unfortunately, hope for implementing the truce during Eid al-Adha is slim so far," Ben Helli said on the sidelines of the World Energy Forum in Dubai.

"The signs, both on the ground and by the government... do not point to the presence of any real will" to implement a ceasefire, he said.

Even as Ben Helli spoke, fierce fighting raged across Syria, including around Damascus, the northern city of Aleppo and the rebel-held town of Maaret al-Numan in the northwest province of Idlib. Reports also emerged of the abduction of two regime officials from Daraa in the south.

Brahimi said a truce during Eid al-Adha could allow the start of a more permanent peace initiative.

"This is a call to every Syrian, on the street, in the village, fighting in the regular army and its opponents, for them to take a unilateral decision to stop hostilities," he said on Sunday.

Brahimi said he contacted political opposition leaders inside and outside Syria and armed groups in the country and "found them to be very favourable" to the idea of a truce.

No let-up

President Bashar Assad during a meeting with Brahimi said he was "open to any sincere efforts seeking to find a political solution to the crisis based on respecting Syria's sovereignty and rejecting any foreign interference," state media reported.

Al-Baath newspaper, the ruling party's mouthpiece, seemed cold to the idea however, saying rebels had already given their reply: a bomb attack on Sunday in Bab Touma, a Christian quarter of Damascus, in which 13 people died.

"Armed terrorist groups responded to Brahimi's [ceasefire] appeal with a series of explosions in Damascus, including a suicide bombing in Bab Touma, leaving dozens dead or wounded," it said.

On the ground, there was no sign on Monday of a let-up in the violence.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said clashes erupted in the morning when troops tried to storm the rebel-controlled town of Harasta on the northeastern outskirts of Damascus.

It also said Syrian soldiers fought pitched battles with rebels near Maaret al-Numan and around an army base in nearby Wadi Daif, in Idlib province.

According to the watchdog, Monday's clashes were the fiercest seen yet around Wadi Daif base, which has been besieged for nearly two weeks by Free Syrian Army fighters and jihadist militants.

The Observatory said a checkpoint near the base was in flames after it was attacked by the rebels, who killed at least nine soldiers.

Maaret al-Numan, a strategic town on the Aleppo-Damascus highway, has been the scene of intense fighting since it fell to rebels on October 9, severing a key army supply route.

In the northern commercial capital Aleppo, which has been battered by more than three months of clashes, insurgents blew up a bridge of a train line, used mainly to transport fuel, residents said. A military source confirmed the report.

Large attack

Fierce machine-gun battles broke out near Aleppo's ancient Umayyad Mosque, as troops fended off rebel attacks on their checkpoints, said a military source.

"Until now we have kept them at bay, but this is a large attack."

Meanwhile, "terrorists" abducted general prosecutor Tayssir Smadi from outside the civil court in Daraa, SANA news agency said. The Observatory confirmed the report and said gunmen also kidnapped Baath Party member Mahmud Akrad.

The Observatory said at least 63 people, including 15 civilians were killed on Monday across Syria, adding to a toll of more than 34 000 people the group says have been killed since an anti-regime revolt erupted in March last year.

And in Lebanon fresh sectarian fighting erupted on Monday, between opponents and supporters of the Syrian regime after Friday's killing in a massive Beirut car bombing blamed on the Damascus government.

On the Jordan border, a Jordanian soldier was killed before dawn on Monday in a clash with militants trying to cross into Syria, Amman's information minister Samih Maaytah told AFP.

NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
14 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Oscar Pistorius
 

6 impressive camping tips

Check out these great tips that will make your camping experience so much better!

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Free outdoor yoga classes
Watch: 5 skills to improve your BMX riding
Action camera for all occasions
Tips on how to set your fitness goals

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Sales Consultant

Cape Town CBD
Mpumalanga Personnel & Training Consultants

Bar Lady & Waitress - Milnerton

West Coast
Your Move Personnel
R1 500 - R2 000 Per Month

Customer Service Advisor

Cape Town
Teleresources Cape Town
R5 000 Per Month

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Save 20% on Nivea beauty products!

Buy any two Nivea beauty products and save 20%. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a strong social and romantic overtone that plays its way into your day. It may get stronger later in the day when the...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.