The first UN monitors have arrived in Syria just as the promised ceasefire appears to be going up in smoke with the government's shelling of Homs. Some 25 were killed in attacks yesterday, reports the BBC. Six UN observers have arrived in Damascus. The remaining 25 are expected to arrive in the coming days, reports AP. The mission "will start with setting up operating headquarters, and reaching out to the Syrian government and opposition forces, so that both sides fully understand the role of the observers," said a spokesman for UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.
Under the peace plan, the Syrian government should have withdrawn its forces and heavy weaponry from cities last week. But activists said government forces have actually stepped up attacks on opposition strongholds in the center of Homs, and video footage reveals major, frequent explosions. Syrian officials said "terrorist groups" have increased "criminal attacks" since the truce began. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned that the world is "watching with skeptical eyes." (Read more United Nations stories.)