DAMASCUS, (AFP) — A dawn bombardment by Syrian government forces killed 10 civilians on Tuesday, a rights watchdog said, hours after UN chief Ban Ki-moon issued a new call for all sides to respect a troubled ceasefire.
Condemning bombings that killed more than 20 people on Monday, most of them security force personnel, Ban said it was vital that government and oppostion alike cooperate fully with the UN mission charged with overseeing a tenuous ceasefire that went into force on April 12.
Nine members of a single family were among the 10 dead in Idlib province in the northwest, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
A mortar round slammed into their home in Mashmashan village near the town of Jisr al-Shughur, the watchdog said, adding that four women and two children were among the family members killed.
In his statement, Ban called on all sides to work with the UN observer mission as it expands from the current advance party of 30 to a promised full complement of 300 in the coming days and weeks.
“While noting improvements in areas where UN monitors are deployed, the secretary general remains gravely concerned by reports of continued violence, killing and abuses in Syria in recent days,” the statement said.
“He calls for armed violence in all its forms by all parties to cease immediately and full cooperation of all parties with the work of UN Supervision Mission in Syria as it expands its presence on the ground.”
Two observers from the advance team are already deployed in Idlib, a province bordering Turkey where rebel fighters of the Free Syrian Army have been active.
Two observers each have been deployed in three other protest centres — the flashpoint central cities of Hama and Homs, and Daraa province, south of Damascus, cradle of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime that broke out in March last year.
The other 22 remain based in the capital.
As he arrived to take charge of the mission at the weekend, veteran Norwegian peacekeeper Major General Robert Mood said that additional observers would be deployed rapidly, with 30 more to arrive in days.
But he warned that they would only succeed in their mission to end 13 months of bloodshed that has killed more than 9,000 people, according to the United Nations, if they received the cooperatation of all sides.
“The observers can’t solve all problems in and of themselves… All sides must stop violence and give the process a chance,” Mood said.
In Monday’s violence, bombings rocked Idlib city and the Damascus suburbs, with the deadliest hitting security buildings in Idlib.
“The blasts targeted two security headquarters, one housing air force intelligence and the other military intelligence,” Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
State news agency SANA said “terrorists” were behind the attacks by “suicide bombers.”
State television broadcast footage of blood stains on the ground, and groups of angry people denouncing the violence and expressing support for Assad’s regime.
“Is this the freedom they want?” shouted one man, standing near a woman who was carrying a child with blood running down his forehead.
In his statement, the UN chief condemned what he called “terrorist bomb attacks” in Idlib and Damascus.
But the opposition Syrian National Council again took aim at the authorities for orchestrating the violence, accusing it of being behind earlier rocket-propelled grenade attacks in the capital, one of which hit the Central Bank of Syria.
“The Assad regime is trying in various ways to mislead and distract (UN) observers in order to prevent them carrying out their work,” the SNC said, calling for “an international commission of inquiry to uncover who was behind the explosions.”