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Syria: Shelling continues as Eid is celebrated

As Eid al-Fitr is being celebrated in Syria, Aleppo and Daraa were being shelled, according to latest reports. Meanwhile, the last UN monitors are leaving the country.

United Nations observers embrace upon arrival in Damascus, Syria from Homs, as they prepare to depart the country today
United Nations observers embrace upon arrival in Damascus, Syria from Homs, as they prepare to depart the country today
Image: AP Photo/Muzaffar Salman

SYRIAN GOVERNMENT FORCES heavily shelled the cities of Aleppo and Daraa and a suburb of Damascus on the second day of a major Muslim holiday today, killing up to 30 people, rights groups and activists said.

There was a relative lull in the civil war on Sunday, the first of three days of the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Two main activist groups — The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordination Committees — said that 10 bodies of adult males shot execution style were found in the Qaboun district in the capital Damascus.

The UN’s new envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, told The Associated Press yesterday:

The problem is not what I can do differently, it is how others are going to behave differently. If they spoke in one voice and were clearly supportive of what I will be doing on their behalf, that is what I need. Without a unified voice from the Security Council, I think it will be difficult.

Brahimi was named on Friday to replace former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan as peace envoy to Syria. He served as a UN envoy in Afghanistan and Iraq and helped negotiate the end of Lebanon’s civil war as an Arab League envoy.

He said Annan’s mission failed “because the international community was not as supportive as he needed them to be.”

Air France criticised

Meanwhile, the French Foreign Minister has criticised Air France for landing a passenger plane in Damascus last week.

The Wall Street Journal said that Minister Laurent Fabius said the airline’s decision to refuel in the city during a flight was a security risk for the passengers.

The plane was heading from Paris to Lebanon’s capial, but was low in fuel and so landed in Damascus – where passengers were asked to chip in for the fuel costs.

Monitoring

The UN’s monitoring mission in Syria has now come to an end, with the last members leaving the country today.

Speaking yesterday, the departing UN observer mission chief accused both the Syrian army and rebel forces of failing to protect civilians.

General Babacar Gaye said that both parties have obligations under international humanitarian law to make sure that civilians are protected, but these obligations have not been respected.

- Additional reporting AP

Read: Syria: Departing UN observer chief criticises failure to protect civilians>

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