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Syrian troops armed with heavy machine guns killed dozens in the central city of Hama on Monday, activists said, just a day after chanting protesters welcomed a visit by a U.N. team sent to observe a shaky cease-fire.
Two vehicles carrying U.N. truce monitors sped away from a large crowd of Syrian anti-regime protesters Wednesday when what sounded like a gunshot rang out in a Damascus suburb they were touring, according to amateur video posted online.
Syria's 4-day-old cease-fire appeared to be eroding quickly on Sunday, with regime forces firing dozens of tank shells and mortar rounds at neighborhoods in the opposition stronghold of Homs, hours before the arrival of a first team of U.N. truce monitors.
Syrian troops backed by tanks stormed a northwestern town on Saturday in the latest of a series of pushes by regime forces into rebel-held areas, but faced strong resistance from defending army defectors, activists said.
The leader of Syria's main opposition group rejected calls Friday by U.N. envoy Kofi Annan for dialogue with President Bashar Assad's government, saying such talks are pointless and unrealistic as long as the regime massacres its own people.
Syria's military sent tanks and other reinforcements toward the resistance stronghold of Homs on Monday for a possible offensive to break the opposition's grip even as Red Cross negotiators tried to broker a cease-fire for emergency aid to areas wracked by fighting.
Syrian tanks and troops massed Monday outside the resistance stronghold of Homs for a possible ground assault that one activist warned could unleash a new round of fierce and bloody urban combat even as the Red Cross tried to broker a cease-fire to allow emergency aid in.
Syrian rebels repelled a push Monday by government tanks into a key central town held by forces fighting President Bashar Assad's regime as the country's 11-month-old uprising looked increasingly like a nascent civil war.
The Syrian military launched an offensive to regain control of suburbs on the eastern edge of Damascus on Sunday, storming neighborhoods and clashing with groups of army defectors in fierce fighting that sent residents fleeing and killed at least 12 people, activists said.