Truce tearing in Syria as attacks rise
The Syrian regime widened artillery attacks on opposition strongholds Tuesday in another sign that the U.N.-brokered cease-fire is quickly unraveling despite the presence of foreign observers, activists said.
The truce is part of an international plan to launch talks between President Bashar Assad’s regime and an opposition trying to topple him.
But the regime has only partially complied with the terms, and the latest escalation in attacks lowered already minimal expectations that international envoy Kofi Annan’s plan will stick.
Meanwhile, France’s foreign minister said an array of international sanctions targeting Syria’s repressive regime have cut its financial reserves by half — and Damascus is actively trying to evade them.
An image from an amateur video released by the Shaam News Network ... more >
The actual size of Syria’s financial reserves isn’t known, but it was believed to be around $17 billion at the start of the uprising in March 2011.
Diplomats and finance ministry officials from the Arab world, the West and elsewhere were meeting in Paris to coordinate sanction measures against Mr. Assad’s repressive regime.
The overall level of violence in Syria is down since the cease-fire formally took effect Thursday, but the regime has gradually stepped up attacks. The number of people killed every day also has risen steadily since a brief lull that coincided with the start of the truce.
The central city of Homs has been under continuous assault for about a month, with only a brief lull on the first day of the cease-fire.
In a six-minute amateur video posted Tuesday, shells are heard falling on Homs at intervals of one every few seconds. Gray or black smoke rises from several locations at once, at times filling the entire screen.