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MENAFN - Arab News - 28/10/2012

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(MENAFN - Arab News) Activists say Syrian warplanes have bombed a building in a suburb of the capital Damascus in the first airstrike since an internationally mediated cease-fire went into effect.

The attack and other violence casts further doubt on the chances that the four-day truce that began Friday will be a springboard for ending the civil war.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says eight people were killed and many others wounded in the airstrike in Arbeen. The area also has witnessed heavy clashes and intense shelling.

An amateur video posted by activists online shows a pile of rubble said to be from the airstrike. A hand of what appeared to be a dead person could be seen in the debris. The videos appeared consistent with AP's reporting in the area.

Opposition activists in Syria said forces loyal to President Bashar Assad had renewed their heavy bombardment of major cities yesterday.

"The army began firing mortars at 7 am 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 said.

Heavy machine gunfire and the sound of mortar bombs could be heard for the second consecutive day along the Turkey-Syria border near the Syrian town of Haram, a Reuters witness said.

Activists in the eastern city of Deir Al-Zor and in Aleppo, where rebels control roughly half of Syria's most populous city, said that mortar bombs were being fired into residential areas.

Residents in Damascus aired footage of fighter jets which they said were bombing the suburbs of Erbin and Harasta.

Forty-three soldiers were killed in ambushes and during clashes, it said, while state TV reported a powerful car bomb which had killed five people in Damascus.

State television blamed "terrorists," the regime term for rebels, for a car bombing in the capital that killed at least five people and wounded more than 30.

A commander of the main rebel group, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), in the northern city of Aleppo accused the regime of breaking their pledge to hold its fire.

"The regime does not respect the cease-fire, it is not shooting and there are no clashes but it has started shelling... What cease-fire? We can't trust the regime," said Abd Al-Jaber Al-Akaidi.
"The regime is perfidious, a cheater and a liar," he said.

Meanwhile, fighters clashed with Kurdish militia in the northern city of Aleppo, leaving 30 dead and some 200 captured, a watchdog said yesterday, sparking fears of a new front in an already fractured country.

The fighting between armed rebels and members of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), erupted on Friday in the majority Kurdish neighborhood of Ashrafiyeh, it said.

"There were 30 people - Arabs and Kurds - killed in the fighting, including 22 combatants from both sides," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in a statement, adding that Ashrafiyeh is now under PYD militia control.

Scores of people were then captured, mostly by the rebels, the Observatory said.


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