BEIRUT - At least 70 people were killed in intense fighting in Syria over the past 24 hours, activists said on Wednesday, despite the imminent arrival of a UN team to discuss a possible mission to monitor a ceasefire set for next week.
Western powers were seeking UN Security Council endorsement of envoy Kofi Annan's deal with Syrian President Bashar Assad for an April 10 withdrawal of military forces, to be followed within 48 hours by a ceasefire by rebel forces.
"Let me say that from the US point of view, and I think the point of view of many member states, what we have seen since April 1 is not encouraging," US ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said Tuesday.
If Assad uses the next seven days to intensify the violence, Rice said, the Security Council would need to respond urgently and seriously.
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