Syria accuses rebels of 1,300 truce violations

Syria on Thursday accused "armed terrorist groups," which it blames for the unrest sweeping the country, of committing more than 1,300 violations of a truce that came into force on April 12.

"Armed terrorist groups have intensified [the number of] massacres, explosions and acts of aggression, committing more than 1,300 violations since the ceasefire came into force on April 12," Adnan Mahmoud told AFP.

He said Damascus had told international envoy Kofi Annan of the violations and said it expected that "he deploy real efforts, the results of which we will see on the ground, towards the armed terrorist groups and those countries and parties that support them."

A cessation of violence in Syria, where some 15 UN monitors have been deployed since April 15, "needs independent and transparent surveillance of the violence perpetrated by armed terrorist groups," Mahmoud said, "if aggression against citizens and the forces of order is to stop."

"The terrorists [on Thursday] killed four members of one family in Damascus province, and wiped out entire families at Hama" in the center of the country on Wednesday, he said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said around 40 civilians have been killed in bombing by government troops in the Hama area since Monday.

Activists on the ground put the death toll as high as 68, including 16 children.

Since mid-March 2011, the country has been in the grip of a deadly revolt against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. The Observatory puts the death toll at more than 11,100, while the UN says more than 9,000 have died.

Mahmoud also accused Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia of "allying themselves with the terrorism that is hitting Syria."

"By financing and arming [the rebels], these countries associate themselves with the crimes targeting Syrian civilians and are responsible for them," he said.

Mahmoud also said his ministry had "issued visas to some 98 Arab and foreign media organizations since March 25" this year.

Allowing journalists to work and move freely throughout the country is part of Annan's six-point plan to resolve the Syrian crisis.

On April 21, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution that allows the dispatch of 300 unarmed observers to Syria to monitor the shaky ceasefire and implementation of the Annan plan.

-AFP/NOW Lebanon

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