Today was supposed to be the ceasefire deadline in Syria, but Bashar al-Assad's regime has done anything but cease its fire. Instead, it suddenly laid out new conditions, demanding that the ceasefire coincide with a deployment of a new international monitoring mission, the Wall Street Journal reports. Syrian forces continued to fire on towns across the country, with activists denying regime assurances that troops had pulled out of some areas. "On the contrary, reinforcements are being sent," one Idlib activist tells the AP.
In Idlib and Hama provinces, regime helicopters used heavy machine gun fire to try to draw out rebels, and in one Idlib village, troops set fire to four homes. A French Foreign Ministry spokesman said the regime's protestations that it was complying with the ceasefire were "a new expression of this flagrant and unacceptable lie." And while Russia once again stood behind the regime, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov admitted that "their efforts to implement the plan could have been more active and resolute."