Let’s see. Brutal dictator agrees to cease-fire after massacring his own people for months when they have the temerity to demand political change. Guns stop firing, brutal dictator remains in power, protests erupt. What could go wrong?
Syrian troops fired shells into rebel-held neighborhoods in the central city of Homs on Saturday killing at least one person, activists said. It was the first reported death from alleged government bombardment of a residential area since a cease-fire went into effect two days ago.
Syrian forces regularly shelled Homs and other cities before the internationally brokered truce and the resumption of such bombardments would be seen as a particularly egregious violation.
It came as the United Nations Security Council prepared to vote on a resolution authorizing the deployment of the first wave of U.N. military observers to monitor the cease-fire between government forces and rebels.
Activists claim that thirteen people have been killed since the beginning of the cease-fire, while the government claims that rebels have killed three people. Reports have come in that government troops opened fire on a funeral, wounding a number of people. The government claims that a local politician had been kidnapped by “gunmen,” and that another group had captured one of its higher-ranking officers in a suburb of Hama. Sounds like one hell of a cease-fire.
However, although the Assad regime is still blocking access to many of these areas to foreign journalists, the AP says that the body count is still an improvement over the pre-truce conditions:
On Friday, Syrian forces have used live fire, tear gas and clubs to beat back tens of thousands of protesters who took to the streets across the country in powerful and often jubilant displays of defiance.
But the reported death toll from the rallies — six people — was much less than the usual for a Friday, where demonstrators spill out onto the streets after midday prayers. The rallies meanwhile were described as some of the largest in months.
Other incidents after the cease-fire went into effect included 20 people wounded when security forces opened fire at protesters in the southern village of Jassim late Friday, activists said.
Maybe it’s just me, but this doesn’t sound like a cease fire as much as it sounds like a reload. The UN wants to send 30 observers to supervise the cease-fire. They’d better bring their body armor, because it looks like this civil war will get back under way very, very quickly.