Syrian Military Doubles Down

Reinforcements arrive, as international community looks for answers
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2012 6:59 AM CDT
In this image made from amateur video, black smoke rises from buildings in Khaldiyeh district, Homs, Syria   (AP Photo/Shaam News Network via AP video)

(Newser) – Shells exploded and gunfire rang through the streets in several Syrian neighborhoods today, and security forces raided homes in Damascus, opposition groups said. Far from withdrawing, as required under the supposed ceasefire, security forces sent reinforcements, the group said. At least nine people were killed, including a child in the Damascus countryside, CNN reports. The violence came as top diplomats met in Paris to discuss the crisis.

But despite the apparent failure of the ceasefire, diplomats weren't willing to give up on Kofi Annan's plan. "This is our last chance to avoid civil war," French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said. "We have to give it a chance for a few more days." France is putting together a new resolution that would widen the observer mission to up to 500 observers, and equip them with helicopters, according to Reuters. Even Russia, one of the regime's main champions, today voiced its support for such a resolution.

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