54 people killed nationwide Clashes rage in Syria

Meanwhile, peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who just spent four days in Syria, was to meet with the Syria “contact group” in Cairo as it seeks ways to end the bloodbath. The district of “Midan is under the control of the army,” a military official told AFP, in a report backed up by an AFP correspondent on the ground.

“We came back to our homes when we heard the army controlled Midan, but there was no electricity,” a man said. “We waited for two hours and it didn’t return. We will go back when it is fixed.” But not all areas were safe and an army checkpoint had been set up near the Midan police station, also retaken by the army, to prevent residents from returning to their homes in the so-called “fourth zone” of the district.

One man was turned away at an army checkpoint after being told there were still snipers in the area and it was not safe to enter. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said four rebels were killed in fighting across the northern city, which has been the scene of battles since July 20.

A clash broke out near a building of the feared air force intelligence and rebels also attacked a military post in New Aleppo, as fighting took place in the northeastern district of Hanano, the western area of Zahraa and in Sukari to the south.

Two people were killed in shelling of the city’s Sakhur neighbourhood, while a boy and girl died in bombing of the Aleppo provincial town of Kfar Hamra, the Observatory said.

The Britain-based monitoring group also reported that the army shelled the strongly pro-rebel district of Al-Hajar Al-Aswad in Damascus in preparation for storming it. “According to initial reports, one person has been killed there, and several have been injured,” it said. Shelling was also reported in several districts of the central city of Homs, which the army had claimed to have under its control.

In the northwestern province of Idlib, pro-regime gunmen killed three members of the same family in the town of Tamanaa, said the watchdog. At least 54 people died nationwide on Monday, most of them civilians, the Observatory said, after 148 were killed the previous day.

The death toll from the 18-month conflict has risen to more than 27,000 people, says the Observatory, while the United Nations puts the figure at 20,000.

In Geneva, the head of a UN commission investigating rights abuses in Syria said they had soared dramatically in recent weeks and that the UN Security Council should take “appropriate action” against war criminals.

“Gross violations of human rights have grown in number, in pace and in scale,” Paulo Sergio Pinheiro said, adding President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and rebels, to a lesser extent, had committed war crimes.

Source: The News International

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