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Clashes as UN arrives in Syria

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Clashes as UN arrives in Syria

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Syrian troops have launched fresh assaults on rebels, activists say, as an envoy of UN mediator Kofi Annan arrived in Damascus to discuss implementing a ceasefire plan.
Activists says several towns, including Homs, Deraa and the Douma suburb of Damascus, have been shelled.
There are also reports of a steep rise in refugees crossing into Turkey.
A spokesman for Annan said Syria had reported some troop withdrawals and the UN expects a full truce by April12.
Meanwhile the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that Syrian officials had agreed to it having an “expanded presence” in the country.
The UN says the conflict has cost more than 9,000 lives since it began a year ago. The Syrian government blames violence on “terrorist gangs” and says some 3,000 members of the security forces have been killed. (BBC)