Sunday, October 19, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Bombings, clashes leave Syria truce in tatters

By
From page A2 | October 28, 2012 |

BEIRUT (AP) — A Syrian warplane flattened a three-story building, suspected rebels detonated a deadly car bomb and both sides traded gunfire in several hotspots across the country Saturday, activists said, leaving a U.N.-backed holiday truce in tatters on its second day.

The unraveling of the cease-fire marked the latest setback to ending Syria’s civil war through diplomacy. Foreign military intervention is unlikely, raising the grim prospect of a drawn-out war of attrition between President Bashar Assad and those trying to topple him.

The proposed four-day truce during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha had been a long shot from the start since international mediator Lakhdar Brahimi failed to get solid commitments from all combatants. Fighting dropped off in the first hours of the cease-fire Friday, but by the end of the day, activists said 151 people had been killed in bombings and shootings, a standard daily toll in Syria.

On Saturday, the first regime airstrike since the start of the truce reduced a three-story building in the Arbeen suburb of the capital, Damascus to rubble, killing at least eight men, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which compiles reports from activists.

In the remote eastern town of Deir el-Zour, assailants detonated a car bomb near a military police compound, then opened fire at those rushing to the scene, killing a total of eight people and causing extensive damage, the Observatory said. Syrian media denied there were casualties. The attack bore the hallmarks of Jabhat al-Nusra, a radical rebel-allied Islamic group that has rejected the cease-fire.

The Syrian air force also bombed rebel positions Saturday during a fierce battle for control over the main road linking Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, with the capital, activists said. Earlier this month, rebels seized Maaret al-Numan, a town along the highway and besieged a nearby military base, disrupting regime supplies to embattled Aleppo. The Syrian air force has responded with sustained bombing raids on area villages.

By late Saturday, at least 76 people had been killed across Syria, including 20 Syrian soldiers, activists said. The Observatory reported deadly regime shelling and sniper attacks in several locations, while Syrian state-media said rebels ambushed a number of military positions.

Military analyst Joe Holliday said neither side has an incentive to halt fighting, noting that rebels have disrupted regime supply routes to the northern provinces of Aleppo and Idlib. “The regime can’t accept the current military status quo without a fight and the rebels have no reason to since they believe they have the momentum,” said Holliday, a researcher at the Institute for the Study of War in Washington.

Brahimi’s spokesman declined comment Saturday on the apparent failure of his initiative. It’s not clear what Brahimi’s next move could be, since the international community is divided over the Syria conflict that erupted 19 months ago.

Assad allies Russia and China have shielded the regime against harsher U.N. Security Council sanctions, while the rebels’ foreign backers have shied away from military intervention.

The U.S., meanwhile, is averse to sending strategic weapons to help the rebels break the battlefield stalemate, fearing they will fall into the hands of militant Islamists, who are increasingly active in rebel ranks. The al-Qaida-inspired Jabhat al-Nusra, for example, is believed to be on the front lines in Aleppo and near Maaret al-Numan.

When Brahimi, the U.N.-Arab League envoy, first floated the idea of a holiday truce, he did not say what his long-term plan was. Even a temporary reduction in violence during such a truce would not have been a springboard for talks between Assad and the opposition on ending the war. Syria’s opposition says it will only negotiate if Assad resigns, a step the Syrian leader has refused to take.

Some said Brahimi’s initiative allowed a paralyzed international community to show briefly that it was doing something to try to end the war that has claimed more than 35,000 lives and displaced hundreds of thousands.

Shadi Hamid of the Brookings Doha Center said the truce at least “provides the illusion of movement, that something is being done, that the international community is still trying to find a solution.”

The U.S. said Friday that both sides have violated the holiday cease-fire, but singled out the regime. In the previous attempted truce six months ago, the Syrian military violated key provisions, such as withdrawing troops from urban centers, and was widely held responsible for the collapse of the cease-fire.

Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdessi on Saturday accused the U.S. of being one-sided. He said Syria remains committed to halting military operations. He said all cease-fire violations were the result of attacks, most of them carried out by organizations that originally rejected the truce, an apparent reference to Jabhat al-Nusra. The spokesman said Syria has sent messages to the U.N. Security Council concerning the violations.

Syrian state media accused the rebels of breaking the truce from the start.

One of the deadliest attacks Friday was a car bomb attack in a residential area of Damascus.

The state-run news agency SANA on Saturday quoted the director of Damascus Hospital, Dr. Adib Mahmoud, as saying the hospital received 15 dead civilians, including eight children, and 92 wounded, among them 65 children. Activists had put the death toll at 11.

Also Saturday, Lebanese broadcaster LBC TV said journalist Fidaa Itani, one of its employees covering Syria’s civil war, was detained by the rebels and is being held in the town of Azaz near the Turkish border.

The station quoted a local rebel leader in Azaz, Abu Ibrahim, as saying that rebels suspected Itani after he filmed many videos of rebels operations in Aleppo. Itani’s Lebanese cellphone was closed when The Associated Press tried to reach him.

The area also was the site of the May kidnapping of 11 Shiite Lebanese pilgrims who were on their way home from Iran. Two have been released while rebels say they will hold the others until Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group, apologizes to the Syrian people for supporting Assad.

————

By Karin Laub. Associated Press writer Bassem Mroue in Beirut contributed to this report.

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

.

News

$18.75M grant aims to build global food security

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Return to sender: MRAP removal options go to council

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Housing First pilot project targets West Sac homeless

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

Howzat! Cricket tradition grows in Davis

By Lily Holmes | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Hawaii hit by winds, rain as hurricane veers west

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
For the record

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

Evidentiary hearing set for man shot by CHP

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Cop witnesses car-pedestrian collision

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

Safe viewing of solar eclipse planned

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
Fill the Boot for the hungry

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3

Crash victim ID’d as Woodland man

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3

 
Guns to be discharged at police range

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3

Donate used books at Co-op

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Love-life tips on ‘Heart to Heart’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Wolk sets ‘Morning with the Mayor’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Volunteers sought to chip in on parks cleanup

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

DHS ski and snowboard swap set on Nov. 9

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Quiz Master Gardeners at open house

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Firefighters on the town

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A3

Senior Computer Club hears from county official

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Celebrate origami at Davis library

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Esparto home targeted in three-city pot bust

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4

 
Apply by Friday for Biberstein grants

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Wolk earns perfect score from senior advocates

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

UCD celebrates 50 years of global agricultural success

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Special education information night scheduled

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A11

Be on the lookout for tagged Monarch butterflies

By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A16 | Gallery

 
.

Forum

Old news disturbs the present

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Are we there yet? Yik Yakking the day away

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A8

Take time to reach out for help

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A8

 
A bionic hand with feeling

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Ain’t Snow Mountain high enough

By Our View | From Page: A14

 
Proposed lights harm kids

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A14

Teach cyclists to obey laws

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A14

 
Let’s take Davis’ energy future seriously

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A14

Be careful cycling on Fifth

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A15

 
Water theater isn’t fun

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A15

Elect Granda to board

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A15

 
Yes on Prop. 47: reasonable changes to curb recidivism, save money

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A15

No on Prop. 47: an end to safe neighborhoods, and more victims

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A15

 
.

Sports

Vargas emerges from crowded Aggie WR corps

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Competitive Aggies fall at No. 6/7 Montana

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Devils stick it to Chico, cancer

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

JV Devils fall to Franklin

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

 
Niemi leads Sharks to win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

UCD roundup: Big crowd sees Aggies nip Guachos

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

 
Davis is a temple for fine beverages

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Arcadia Biosciences earns spot on global innovation list

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
35 employers will be at West Sac job fair

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Rob White: Building an economy on innovation

By Rob White | From Page: A6

 
.

Obituaries

Peggy Belenis Swisher

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Sadie Louise Barga

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Morgan Wheeler

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, October 19, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B8