Air strikes, car bombs wreck last day of Syria "truce"
By Oliver Holmes and Khaled Yacoub Oweis, Reuters
October 30, 2012, 1:25 pm TWN
BEIRUT/AMMAN (Reuters) - Syrian jets bombed parts of Damascus on Monday in what residents said were the capital's fiercest air raids yet, at the end of what was supposed to be a four-day truce.
"More than 100 buildings have been destroyed, some leveled to the ground," said opposition activist Moaz al-Shami. "Whole neighbourhoods are deserted."
Each side in the 19-month-old conflict between President Bashar al-Assad and rebels blamed the other for breaking the truce proposed by peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to mark a Muslim holiday. Two car bombs rocked the capital on Monday, state media reported.
"I am deeply disappointed that the parties failed to respect the call to suspend fighting," U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said.
"This crisis cannot be solved with more weapons and bloodshed ... the guns must fall silent."
Although the military and several rebel groups accepted the plan to stop shooting over Eid al-Adha, which ends on Monday, 500 people have been killed since Friday, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition organization.
Damascus residents said Monday's air raids were the heaviest since jets and helicopters first bombarded pro-opposition parts of the capital in August.
"Even electricity poles have been hit and they are lying among pools of water from burst pipes. There is no food, water, electricity or telephones," said Shami, who said he witnessed three air raids in the northeastern suburb of Harasta alone.
State media said "armed terrorist groups" had broken the truce over the four days in the cities of Aleppo, Homs and Deir al-Zor and had detonated two car bombs in the capital on Monday.
One killed 10 people, including women and children, near a bakery in Jaramana, a district controlled by forces loyal to Assad. The other was in Hajar al-Aswad, a neighborhood where rebels are based.