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UN chief slams ongoing Syria violence

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UN chief slams ongoing Syria violence
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United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has hit out at the Syrian government’s latest attacks on civilians, calling for authorities to keep to a pledge to end to all military operations.

Opposition activists said at least 27 Syrian soldiers, rebels and civilians were killed during violence on Friday, just four days before an April 10 deadline to stop the use of heavy weapons.

In a swipe at an apparent decision to intensify assaults right up to the target date, the UN chief’s office said Ban “deplored the violence against innocent civilian, including women and children”.

Amateur video obtained by the Reuters news agency is thought to have been shot in two villages near the northern town of Idlib and Douma, just outside the capital Damascus. It purportedly
shows the devastation caused by the government’s latest crackdown.

The April 10 troop withdrawal is due to be followed by a formal ceasefire two days later. It is part of a six-point peace plan developed by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan that was agreed by Syrian President Bashar al Assad.