Syrian Ceasefire Blows Up

Regime uses helicopters and tanks, but says it's responding to opposition
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 18, 2012 7:02 AM CDT
This image made from amateur video released by the Shaam News Network and accessed Tuesday, April 17, 2012, purports to show smoke rising from buildings in Homs, Syria.   (AP Photo/Shaam News Network via AP video)
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(Newser) – Syria's tattered ceasefire appears to have basically collapsed, with activists accusing the regime of rampant and brazen violations yesterday, including sending helicopters to fire on rebels holed up in mountain villages, and shelling at least two cities, the New York Times reports. They reported death tolls as high as 50. The regime, of course, says it's responding to attacks from the opposition, which it says is trying to sabotage the peace process.

"We are not benefiting from even 20% of a ceasefire," said one man, who said refugees were streaming into his village from a neighboring one that was under attack. "I can clearly hear the sound of helicopters and shelling in the distance." In Homs, the ceasefire appears to have changed nothing; activists posted video of the continued shelling there, while state-run television accused "armed terrorist gangs," meaning the opposition, of "firing randomly on houses."

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