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On last day of failed truce, both sides in Syrian conflict attack

Los Angeles Times –

BEIRUT — Syrian government shelling of areas held by opposition forces and a car bomb in a suburb considered loyal to President Bashar Assad killed and injured dozens of people Monday, activists and state media said.

The fighting came on what was supposed to be the last day of a four-day holiday cease-fire. The truce, however, was broken within hours of its start Friday.

Activists reported fierce government shelling in Damascus, the capital, and its suburbs. In the Hajjar al Aswad neighborhood, eight people riding in a minibus were killed when a shell struck a building and caused rubble to fall onto the vehicle, activists said. Four of the dead were members of the same family, two children and their parents.

Photos and videos reportedly take at the scene in Hajjar al Aswad showed children’s bloody bodies lined up on the ground and the injured being taken away by taxis or buses. Government forces later raided the Palestine Hospital in the neighborhood and arrested some of the wounded, activists said.

In the Damascus suburb of Jaramana, an area considered loyal to the government, state media reported that a car bomb killed 11 and injured more than 50. State media blamed the attack on “terrorists.”

Monday was the final day of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha. The reports could not be independently confirmed because the Syrian government restricts media access to the conflict zone.

Other opposition-held neighborhoods and suburbs of Damascus, and several other cities in country, were also under regular shelling and airstrikes throughout Monday, activists reported.

In Aleppo, clashes and airstrikes continued throughout several parts of the city. In the Maadi district 15, people were killed, including seven members of a family when two barrel bombs were dropped near a hospital, activists said.

The cease-fire brokered by Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations and Arab League envoy to Syria, was meant to provide four days of respite from the fighting, with its daily death tolls of more than 100 people, many of them civilians. The truce also was to be a possible foundation for further diplomatic efforts.

Brahimi was in Moscow on Monday meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Russia is one of Syria’s last remaining allies and, with China, has frustrated action by the United Nations on Syria.

“What I did was just really make an appeal to all those who are fighting inside Syria, to give their people a respite for few days,” Brahimi said at a news conference after his meeting. “I am terribly sorry … that this appeal has not been heard at the level we hoped it would.”

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