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UN observers arrive in rebellious Homs in central Syria

Damascus, Sat, 21 Apr 2012 ANI

Damascus, Apr 21 (Xinhua-ANI): The advance team of UN observers tasked by the UN Security Council to monitor the implementation of a full cessation of armed violence in Syria, visited the central province of Homs on Saturday, state-run SANA news agency reported.

Homs, Syria's third largest city and home to one million people, has emerged as a main stronghold of armed insurgency against the leadership of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Syria has accepted a UN-backed cease-fire truce that aims at solving the crisis politically, and an advance team of international observers set foot in Syria last week to monitor the tenuous cease-fire. Since their arrival, violence has to some extent declined, but still, attacks and deaths are reported on daily bases.

On Thursday, the team visited the restive southern province of Daraa and its suburbs for the second time.

Head of the UN team, Moroccan Colonel Ahmed Himmiche, told reporters on Thursday after returning from Daraa that their job is to make liaison with all parties, adding that it's the team's first mission that must end as soon as possible.

"Today we visited Daraa's suburbs, and our job was to take the names of activists whom we will talk with in order to make preparations for the arrival of other observers in case the UN Security Council approves the mandate," he said.

The United Nations said some 230,000 Syrians have been displaced from their homes and more than 9,000 others have been killed since the eruption of unrest in Syria a year ago, while the Syrian government blames the unrest on armed groups and extremists backed by foreign conspiracy and said 6,044 have died, including 2, 566 soldiers and police. (Xinhua-ANI)

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