Syrian troops, rebels clash near Homs after Ban warning on truce
Syrian troops and army defectors clashed Friday near the key dissident province of Homs, a day after the UN chief criticized Damascus for not complying with a peace plan.
A ceasefire that came into effect on April 12 has been fractured with daily reports of violence. One defector died and more than 15 were wounded Friday in the area of Al Sa'n on the outskirts of Homs, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday that Syria was "in contravention of the (peace) plan" that also calls for the withdrawal of troops and weapons from cities, release of detainees and access to humanitarian services.
Ban "condemns in the strongest terms the continued repression against the Syrian civilian population and violence from any quarter," his spokesman said, after opposition reports said that nearly 70 people had died in a rocket attack in Hama earlier this week.
The regime of President Bashar al-Assad and the opposition have blamed each other for the repeated violations of the ceasefire - a key component of the peace plan proposed by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.
While analysts fear the Annan plan is on the verge of collapse, the opposition has called for mass demonstrations Friday to denounce the shelling of the rebellious provinces of Homs, Hama and suburban Damascus.