Bomb kills 5 in Syrian capital

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The U.N. has an observer mission in the country with about 270 unarmed monitors. Their presence has not stopped the violence although the level of bloodshed has dropped compared to previous months.

U.N. peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous toured the central city of Homs, the flashpoint of the uprising, on Monday and met U.N. observers in the city as well as the governor.

“The first goal is to obtain a reduction in the level of violence and this you have clearly done here in Homs,” Ladsous said in a statement released Tuesday. “Now there is a need to establish bridges to help solve the practical functions of everyday life and gradually establish degree of confidence between the government and opposition.”

Amateur videos posted online Tuesday showed residents welcoming observers in the northern town of Maaret Musreen in the restive province of Idlib. They spray-painted two of the observers’ cars with the words: “Down with Assad” and “Freedom Forever.”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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