Airstrikes target rebels despite cease-fire
Syrian warplanes bombarded a besieged rebel-held district of Homs, southern Daraa and insurgent areas on the outskirts of Damascus on Saturday in what appeared to be intensifying assaults in the west of the country, monitors said.
Much of western Syria is covered by an ongoing but shaky cease-fire between the government and rebels that took effect Dec. 30. But fighting has rumbled on, with warring sides accusing each other of truce violations ahead of peace talks in Geneva in the coming week.
On the northeastern outskirts of Damascus, the capital, Syrian government forces attacked the rebel-held Qaboun and Barzeh districts with rockets and shells, killing at least nine people, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.
To the north, Syrian jets bombarded the last rebel-held district of Homs, al-Waer, killing at least two people and raising the death toll from nearly two weeks of airstrikes there to more than 20, an activist and the Observatory said.