All parties make contingency plans as Syria's cease-fire wobbles (+video)
The US envoy to the UN warned that a monitor mission could be curtailed, while rebel fighters amassed weapons in preparation for a renewal of fighting.
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An initial deployment of United Nations monitors arrived in Syria yesterday to oversee the cease-fire that went into effect last week, but within hours, the US envoy to the UN was warning that their mission could be cut short because of reports of renewed violence.
The UN said that although violence has lessened since the cease-fire went into effect April 12, it received reports yesterday of shelling and arrests by regime forces and executions of regime soldiers by rebel fighters. Homs was shelled for the third day in a row, according to activists, and reports of fighting surfaced in Idlib and Hama, Reuters reports.
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The UN human rights team reported a "deteriorating humanitarian situation" and said it was "seriously concerned over ... the shelling of the (Khalidiya) neighbourhood and other districts in Homs by government forces and the use of heavy weaponry, such as machine guns in other areas, including Idlib and some suburbs of Damascus." New arrests in Hama and Aleppo were also raising concern.
"Should the violence persist and the ceasefire, or cessation of violence more aptly, not hold, that ... will call into question the wisdom and the viability of sending in the full monitoring presence," envoy Susan Rice said, according to Reuters.
A handful of monitors are already on the ground. Over the weekend, the Security Council voted to put up to 30 on the ground.
As it has done since the outset of the uprising, the government blamed the violence on armed terrorists, saying "aggression by the groups had 'hysterically escalated' since the start of the cease-fire," CNN reports. Rebel fighters have used the relative lull in violence to prepare for a possible collapse of the cease-fire, amassing weapons.