Syria truce deadline passes, no reported violence

April 12, 2012 06:46

BEIRUT - The deadline for a UN-backed ceasefire aimed at halting more than a year of violence in Syria passed on Thursday with no immediate reports of fighting, activists said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported the sound of explosions in the town of Zabadani, close to the border with Lebanon, shortly after the 6 a.m. (0300 GMT) deadline expired, but said it was not clear what had caused the blasts.A resident of the town said there had been shelling of the town overnight, but that she heard nothing after the deadline. Other activists in the cities of Hama, Homs and Damascus said the situation was calm.

Syria's Defense Ministry said on Wednesday it would halt operations on Thursday morning, but made no mention of an army pullback from cities and said it would confront "any assault" by armed groups. Attacks on opposition neighborhoods over the last week have fueled doubts it would comply with the truce.

None of the activists said they had seen any sign of tanks pulling back from urban centers, one of the points Syria agreed to under the ceasefire.

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