Death Toll Mounts in Syria, Despite Ceasefire

April 17, 2012 Updated: April 18, 2012

DUBAI—Scores of people have been killed in a bombing campaign by Syrian security forces, activists say, in a flagrant violation of a United Nations-brokered ceasefire.

The number of dead was put by activists at 39 on Tuesday alone, despite the presence of a six-member advance team of U.N. observers who arrived in the country on the weekend. 

The city of Homs has been under almost constant bombardment since a ceasefire was brokered last Thursday. 

Col. Ahmed Himmiche, a member of the U.N. team, said that the mission of monitoring the ceasefire would be difficult. 

“We need to move forward, little step by little step,” he told journalists in the capital, the BBC reported.

“It is not easy and it will require co-ordination with all sides, firstly with the Syrian government and then with the other sides. It’s a difficult mission that needs co-ordination and planning.” 

Around 38 were killed in the northern city of Idlib by shelling from tanks, with others perishing in attacks in Damascus, Homs and Daraa, according to the Local Coordination Committees activist network. 

The activist group said the death toll in Idlib “is expected to increase because there are of bodies that people couldn’t pull because of heavy security deployment in the area.”

On Monday, the day after the U.N. team arrived in the country, some 50 people were killed in a crackdown on opposition groups. 

The U.N. estimates that at least 9,000 people have died since anti-regime protests broke out in the country 13 months ago. However, local activists have said the number of those killed is likely much higher.