The ceasefire in Syria is now a fiction, as the regime's military forces continue to pound opposition, but the U.N. and Western nations don't want to admit as much because the talks it's supposed to engender are still seen as the least worst option. Though there had been reports of the regime's violence almost as soon as the U.N.'s six-point peace plan went into effect on April 12, by Wednesday morning, news wires no longer had to depend on claims by Syrian activists that President Bashar al-Assad was flagrantly breaching its terms. "Wednesday, regime forces fired mortar shells at the central city of Homs, sending thick gray smoke into the air as loud booms rang across residential areas," reports the AP's Karin Laub. "Shelling by Syrian military troops continues unabated," reports NPR's Kelly McEvers. Outside of Homs, the BBC reports evidence of deadly fighting in Deraa province. So why not declare the ceasefire dead? Because once you do, your options don't look good.
The first reason for not giving up is that everyone wants to see the second phase of U.N. envoy Kofi Annan's plan go through: The part where fighting ends and political talks between Assad and the opposition begin. So far, Annan's six-point plan is still believed to be the best shot at realizing that goal. "The international community is reluctant to declare the cease-fire dead, in part because it is seen as the only way to end bloodshed triggered by an uprising against President Bashar Assad," the AP reports. But that's not the only reason.