Syrian 'Ceasefire' Collapses into Chaos

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Neither side took the United Nations-backed ceasefire in Syria very seriously and on Monday, the tenuous four-day truce collapsed into all-out fighting. The start of the week marks the end of one of the holiest days on the Mulsim calendar, Eid al-Adh, which UN peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi saw as an opportunity to establish a very limited agreement. But as fighting continued throughout the weekend, reports on the ground now depict a return to full-scale civil war on the final day of the truce.

Reuters reports that Syrian warplanes are bombarding the Damascus suburb of Harat al-Shwam. "Tanks are deployed around Harat al-Shwam but they haven't been able to go in. They tried a week ago and failed," a local activist tells the news agency. War planes also strafed farmland next to the northern Damascus neighborhood of Barzeh and the city of Deir al-Zor. According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, "Syrian air force fired missiles and dropped barrel bombs — makeshift weapons made of explosives stuffed into barrels — on villages" adjacent to a military base where rebels and government forces battled for control. Video has surfaced on YouTube purporting to show some of the air strikes:

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The rebels appear to be busy as well. Syrian state TV reports that at least 10 have been killed from a car bomb in Damascus. "State TV said women and children were among the victims of the attack in the south-eastern district of Jaramana," reports the BBC. Associated Press reporter Zeina Karam, meanwhile, chronicles the various government positions that rebels have attacked today and yesterday. "In Douma, another Damascus suburb, rebels wrested three positions from regime forces, including an unfinished high-rise building that had been used by regime snipers," reports Karam. "Fighting was also reported near Maaret al-Numan, a strategic town along the Aleppo-Damascus highway that rebels seized earlier this month. Opposition fighters including the al-Qaida-inspired Jabhat al-Nusra, have also besieged a nearby military base and repeatedly attacked government supply convoys heading there."

All told, activists say at least 110 people died in the fighting on Sunday, including 16 during an airstrike on the village of al-Barra in northern Syria. The big takeaway? If rebels and government forces can't abide by a modest four-day ceasefire during a holy day, little hope remains that a solution to the conflict can be found anytime soon.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.