Nearly 150 killed in Syria on first day of 'truce:' activists


Free Syria Army (FSA) fire towards regime loyalist soldiers during a battle to dislodge a sniper from its position overlooking the two main roads in the neighbourhood of Askar in Syria's northern city of Aleppo on October 24, 2012.



Activists today said nearly 150 people were killed in Syria on Friday, shattering hopes for the cease-fire called by international peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in honor of Friday's start of the Muslim four-day feast of Eid al-Adha, reported The Associated Press.

Violence between forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and rebels seeking his overthrow continued today, said AP, citing activists. 

The two groups had agreed to the truce but reserved the right to respond to attacks.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights today said Friday's violence killed a total of 146 people, reported AP. Most of the bloodshed took place in the cities of Damascus, Aleppo, Idlib, Deraa, Homs, and Hama, according to Agence-France Presse

The cease-fire failure confirmed doubts expressed by Free Syrian Army coordinator Mohammed Hajuma to GlobalPost's Tracey Shelton on Thursday in which he said the rebels "don't trust" the regime's promises. 

"We know our government. ... We know what they're capable of," he said.

Both sides were expected to halt fighting as of 6 a.m. local time on Friday in honor of the Muslim Feast of Sacrifice, which began at dawn, but BBC said clashes were reported little more than four hours later.

At least two deadly bombings also hit Syria on Friday, according to AP, a car bomb attack in Damascus that killed at least eight and wounded two dozen, and another explosion in Daraa, which is in the south. State-run press accused "terrorists," the media's code term for the rebels, for the attacks, said AP.  

The cease-fire may have been observed in some areas of the country on Friday, according to The Associated Press.

Syria has been torn apart by 19 months of violence that began as an insurrection against the government and has devolved into a full-scale civil war believed to have taken some 30,000 lives. 

More from GlobalPost: How Syria’s conflict stretches beyond its borders 

GlobalPost correspondent Tracey Shelton contributed reporting from Atmeh, Syria.