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Syrian Protesters Take To Streets As Cease-Fire Seems To Hold


A protester waving a pre-Baath Syrian flag during an antiregime demonstration in Dael in the southern Daraa Province on April 12.
Thousands of Syrians have poured into the streets for antigovernment protests on the second day of a UN-brokered cease-fire.

Activists report three people killed across the country as security forces used live ammunition to break up some protests.

Elsewhere, security forces responded by firing in the air and beating some protesters, but there was no immediate sign of wide-scale violations of the cease-fire.

Earlier on April 13, activists said Syrian troops fought with rebels in the village of Kherbet Joz that borders Turkey, and other scattered violence was reported.

The clash appeared to be the first serious violation of a cease-fire that went into effect on April 12 to end a 13-month government crackdown on dissent.

Meanwhile in New York, the Security Council was expected to consider a draft UN resolution outlining plans to send an advance mission of observers to Syria to monitor compliance with international envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan.

In Geneva, a spokesman for international envoy Annan said he hopes the Security Council will pass the text as early as April 13 to enable up to 30 observers to be deployed next week.

"We hope we'll have a Security Council resolution today authorizing the deployment of the advance team," the spokesman, Ahmad Fawzi, said. "The [UN] Department of Peacekeeping Operations is working round the clock to find the necessary number of troops for the full observer mission eventually."

The observers would monitor the cease-fire and check on whether the Syrian army is withdrawing from population centers.

Fawzi also said the cease-fire had been "relatively respected" but that Annan was "aware that we don't have a perfect situation" in Syria.

"There are detainees that need to be released, humanitarian corridors need to be opened," he said.

The Syrian government on April 12 urged tens of thousands of displaced people who took refuge inside or outside the country due to violence to return home.

Jordan says some 90,000 Syrians have taken refuge there, while another 25,000 are in Turkey and 16,000 in Lebanon. The number of internally displaced people within Syria is not known.
Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP

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