DAMASCUS, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- The internationally-backed cease- fire in Syria that went into effect earlier Friday was marred by unabated violence, with reports of clashes, attacks and blasts rocking the country on the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice.
The Syrian army's general command blamed armed rebels for being behind numerous violations of the cease-fire, which has been put forward by the international envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, who has been shuttling among regional countries to push for the truce as a prelude for further pacification.
In a statement carried by the state media, the army's general command said armed groups opened fire at a military checkpoint at 7:15 a.m. local time (0415 GMT) in the southern province of Daraa and attacked four military sites at 7:00 a.m. (0400 GMT) in the northern province of Idlib.
The statement also recounted similar violations in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour, the central province of Homs, and suburbs of the capital Damascus.
In accordance with the military's right to retaliate against any aggression and the cease-fire agreement, the army has responded to the assailants and confronted them, the statement said.
Right after the army's statement, two booby-trapped cars went off in Damascus and Daraa respectively, leaving dozens of casualties.
A car-bomb blast killed 20 people in Damascus' suburb of Daf al- Shouk, local media said, adding that children were among the dead.
Another explosive-laden car went off at al-Mahata Square in Daraa and left 11 people injured, including some in grave conditions.
Earlier Friday, anti-government protests erupted in a number of hotspots across Syria after the morning prayers for Eid al-Adha, activists said.
The protests reportedly took place in the Damascus suburbs of Hajar al-Aswad, Joubar and Qaboun, as well as in Daraa province.
In Idlib province, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, violent clashes took place in the surrounding of Wadi al-Dayf encampment, east of Ma'arat al-N'uman town, between government forces and rebel fighters, including fighters from al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front group.
The observatory said seven people were killed after the cease- fire went into effect Friday, while the Local Coordination Committees, another activists' network, placed the death toll at 94.
Yet, such accounts are impossible of being checked or verified independently.
A day earlier, the Syrian troops and armed rebels voiced commitment to the internationally-backed cease-fire during the Muslim feast, amid rejection from the extremist groups currently operating on the ground.
In a statement broadcast by the state-run Syrian TV, the army said all military operations would be halted during the four-day holiday, but warned that the decision is reversible in case the armed groups breached the truce.
The rebels Free Syrian Army (FSA) said they would abide by the truce, but stipulated the release of detainees on Friday. The Syrian government released Friday more than 300 prisoners in Deir al-Zour and the northern Hasaka province.
However, the extremists or jihadist groups declared that they were loose of the truce, as the head of the so-called "Ansar al- Islam" group said his fighters would not abide by the truce and questioned the Syrian army's intentions and truthfulness.
On the other hand, the ceasefire has been welcomed by many countries and international organizations. UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said Thursday that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed reports that the warring parties in Syria agreed to observe a ceasefire during Eid al-Adha.
"It's important that all sides will adhere to this," Nesirky said at a daily news briefing.
"We all understand that there is a lack of trust between the parties, and therefore we all understand that we cannot be sure yet what will transpire, but the hope is that guns will fall silent for the people of Syria, so that they have peace and quiet during this holy holiday," said Nesirky, who also noted the need for humanitarian access.
However, the guns have not fallen silent and the circle of violence continued, damping hopes about a long-awaited lull for Syrians to catch their breath after months of deadly crisis.
More than 20,000 people, mostly civilians, have reportedly died in Syria since the crisis began nearly 20 months ago. A further 2. 5 million Syrians are in urgent need for humanitarian aid, and over 340,000 have crossed the border to neighboring countries including Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq, according to UN estimates.
DAMASCUS, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- A booby-trapped car went off Friday in Syria's southern province of Daraa, leaving undisclosed number of casualties and great material damages, the state-TV and pro-government Sham FM radio reported.
The state-TV said the blast took place at al-Mahata Square in Daraa, adding that great material damages have been caused to nearby buildings. Full story
DAMASCUS, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- The ceasefire agreement between the Syrian government forces and the opposition has been welcomed by many international organizations and countries.
UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said Thursday that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed reports of warring parties in Syria agreeing to observe a ceasefire during the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha, starting on Friday. Full story