Government forces and Syrian rebels are arguing over who is really responsible for a massive bomb blast in the city of Hama today, but no matter who you believe it's simply more proof that the ongoing cease fire doesn't exist. The explosion leveled several homes in the Mashaa at-Tayyar district of southern Hama leaving many people buried under the rubble, as amateur videos shot at the scene show. The government says the explosion was caused by "armed terrorists" who blew up their own bomb factory, killing 16 people. Activists says the real death toll is closer to 70 and that army forces are the ones responsible for attack. In either case, the BBC says the devastation was too great to have been cased by traditional tank shelling, suggesting that it could have indeed been a bomb factory (though who destroyed would still be unknown) or perhaps a SCUD missile attack.
What doesn't seem to be in dispute is that the supposed truce that began more than two weeks ago has not stopped the killing. The United Nations admits that the Syrian military has still not performed the first step of its proposed peace plan, which was to pull their forces out of population centers. The U.N. has just two observers in Hama, who not only can't observe anything, but are powerless to stop what they might find. There were reports of summary executions in Hama just this week and a video is spreading that allegedly shows a man being buried alive by government agents for leaking information to satellite TV stations. There is not denying that there have been hundreds of deaths since the cease fire was supposed to begin on April 12, and almost nothing has changed in the civil war that's been raging for a full year.
The one sign of hope is coming from France which has hinted for the first time that military action from other countries might be needed to stop the fighting. Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said today that U.N. needs to move ahead with "Chapter 7" action, which is the section of the U.N. charter that authorizes foreign military intervention. A Security Council resolution authorizing force is unlikely to pass, but at least the option remains an option and becomes slightly more likely each day. Meanwhile, the United Nations continue to debate about where and how to deploy its observer mission, but all they seem willing to do at the moment is observe more bloodshed.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.