A car bomb in the Syrian capital has killed 10 people and wounded 41 more, according to a state news agency and government officials.
The deadly bombing in Damascus on Monday brought a bloody end to a failed attempt at a three-day ceasefire which was marked more by air strikes and firefights than a slowing of the conflict.
Lakhdar Brahimi, appointed by the Arab League and United Nations as envoy to Syria, had sought to get both rebels and President Bashar al-Assad to halt their fighting over the Eid al-Adha holiday. Instead, government jets and artillery bombarded opposition neighbourhoods and rebels launched attacks on military checkpoints.
Speaking in Moscow alongside Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Brahimi said he was “terribly sorry” that the ceasefire had failed and that the civil war was getting even worse.
He said the UN “is not considering” sending an armed peacekeeping force to Syria, though relevant officials were conducting contingency planning in case the Security Council ordered such a mission. That is highly unlikely, with Russia and China – two Council members – opposing any kind of international intervention.
Violations throughout ceasefire
Before the car bomb, Syrian fighter jets bombarded a rebel stronghold on the edge of the capital, opposition activists said.
Air raids, clashes and car bombings claimed at least 100 lives on Sunday, opposition sources said.
Brahimi’s ceasefire was violated almost as soon as it was agreed, and both rebels and government troops initiated firefights since the three-day holiday began at sunset on October 25. He is also due to visit China.
Syria has banned most international media from operating in the country, making it difficult for Al Jazeera to verify reports from activists and authorities.
Explosions, mortar attacks and gunfire have been heard throughout Aleppo, the country’s second-largest city, where neighbourhoods have been reduced to rubble as a result of the months-long struggle there.
In the northwestern Idlib province, the attacks killed at least 16 people on Sunday, including seven children and five women, an activist group said.
“The ceasefire is practically over. Damascus has been under brutal air raids since day one and hundreds of people have been arrested,” Fawaz Tello, an opposition campaigner, told the Reuters news agency.
Rebels kidnap journalist
Regime forces and rebels had agreed to a call by Brahimi to lay down their arms but reserved the right to respond to attacks. Fierce fighting erupted after a short lull, and each side accused each other of breaching the ceasefire.
State news agency SANA said “armed terrorist groups” had attacked checkpoints and planted explosive devices in several cities.
Rebels have also kidnapped a Lebanese journalist operating in the contested north of the country for making reports the fighters deemed unhelpful to their cause.
In-depth coverage of escalating violence across Syria
In a video released on Sunday, Fida Itani said he was in good health but being held under house arrest by the “Northern Storm Brigade”.
The rebel group’s Facebook page said Itani’s work was “not compatible with the revolution” and that he would be held for “a short time”.
The opposition claims at least 32,000 people have been killed since the uprising began in March last year. Hundreds of thousands of people have fled to neighbouring countries.
As winter approaches, life will get worse for displaced families inside Syria and refugees filling up temporary camps in border areas in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon. Valerie Amos, the UN’s chief humanitarian relief officer, has said that up to three million Syrians have been affected by the crisis.
In a statement released last week, she called on all parties to stop targeting civilians and said “ordinary women, men and children … suffer from the indiscriminate use of explosive weapons like cluster munitions”.