Last Updated: Tue May 01, 2012 12:14 pm (KSA) 09:14 am (GMT)

Nine from one family among 10 killed in Syrian shelling as rebels kill 12 troops

Mohammed Noor Zahar was allegedly killed in Damascus by or armed groups loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. (Reuters)
Mohammed Noor Zahar was allegedly killed in Damascus by or armed groups loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. (Reuters)

Mortar bombs hit a town in northern Syria’s Idlib province on Tuesday, killing 10 people, nine of them from the same family, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Britain-based monitoring group said two of the dead were children. Many others were wounded, some of them critically, it added. It was not clear who was behind the attack, according to Reuters.

Syrian rebels killed at least 12 soldiers in fierce fighting outside a military base in the eastern province of Deir al-Zor on Tuesday, the Observatory said.

Security forces responded with heavy-machine gun and mortar fire, killing at least one resident and demolishing a school building, the Britain-based group said.

Syrian forces fired at an overnight demonstration in al-Tadamun neighborhood in the capital Damascus, Al Arabiya reported earlier Tuesday citing activists at the Local Coordination Committees (LCC).

Army defections were reported in Haresta in Damascus suburbs and in security forces stormed al-Bu Omar village in Deir al-Zor, activists said.

Shells and mortars hit the town of Jisr al-Shughour and nearby villages overnight, killing and injuring scores of people, LCC said in an e-mailed statement.

Nasser al-Qudwa, deputy of international envoy Kofi Annan, told Al Arabiya that the Syrian regime has to comply by all its commitments as it will be held accountable in front of the international community.

U.N. chief condemns ‘terrorist bomb attacks’

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. (Reuters)

U.N. leader Ban Ki-moon on Monday condemned “terrorist” bomb attacks in two Syrian cities but said U.N. observers had brought some improvement in areas where they have been deployed.

The U.N. chief called on “all parties” in the Syria conflict to halt violence and work with the growing U.N. Supervision Mission in Syria, U.N. deputy spokesman Eduardo del Buey said in a statement, according to AFP.

Ban “condemns” what he called “terrorist bomb attacks” in Idlib and Damascus on Monday which killed at least 20 people, the spokesman said.

“While noting improvements in areas where U.N. monitors are deployed, the secretary general remains gravely concerned by reports of continued violence, killing and abuses in Syria in recent days.”

“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 UNSMIS as it expands its presence on the ground,” the spokesman said in a statement.

The first 30 U.N. unarmed military observers have arrived in Syria to monitor a tenuous cessation of hostilities which started April 12.

The mission will eventually grow to 300 observers to be spread across Syria, where the U.N. says well over 9,000 people have been killed since an uprising started against President Bashar al-Assad in March last year.

U.S. senator discuss Syria with Saudi king

U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman met in Riyadh Monday with Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz . (SPA)

Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman met in Riyadh Monday with Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz and other senior officials as part of a Middle East tour to discuss the Syria crisis, his office said.

Lieberman also met with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, Defense Minister Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz -- who recently held talks at the Pentagon with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to discuss the Syria crisis -- and General Intelligence chief Prince Muqrin bin Abdul Aziz.

“The senator is traveling in the Middle East this week, focused on the continuing crisis in Syria and other issues related to US national security in the region,” Lieberman aide Whitney Phillips told AFP.

It is the second trip to the region in three weeks for Lieberman, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security Committee and also sits on the Armed Services Committee. He visited a Syrian refugee camp in Turkey near the Syrian border earlier in April.

Lieberman, along with Republican John McCain, have advocated further U.S. intervention in Syria, including the arming of Syrian opposition groups against the regime of Assad.

And while he stressed he wants “no (U.S.) boots on the ground” in Syria, he was adamant about the need to provide more substantive military aid.

“At some point we simply have to say, ‘we’re going to help them, we're going to give them weapons to defend themselves,’ and that will make them strong and more organized,” Lieberman said last week at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.

On Sunday he was in Qatar, where he met with the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Khaled al-Attiyah, Phillips said.

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