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UN Advance Team Due In Damascus Within Two Days


A videograb shows flames and smoke rising into the air following the bombardment of the city of Hama by security forces late last month.

A videograb shows flames and smoke rising into the air following the bombardment of the city of Hama by security forces late last month.

An advance United Nations team is expected in Damascus within 48 hours to discuss the deployment of cease-fire monitors in Syria.

As part of a peace plan proposed by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, some 250 UN observers would be sent to Syria for a monitoring mission.

Nonetheless, their deployment still requires approval under a UN Security Council resolution.

On April 2, Annan said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had promised to withdraw troops and heavy weaponry from populated areas by April 10.

Confirmation of that withdrawal would lead to a cease-fire with opposition fighters.

Meanwhile, activists said heavy fighting engulfed opposition strongholds across the country on April 3 as Assad's regime continued a crackdown, which the UN says has killed more than 9,000 people in the past year.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP
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