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UN Observer Escapes Blast In Syria, Escorts Wounded

5/9/2012 8:08 AM ET

Major General Robert Mood, head of the U.N. observer mission in Syria, escaped unhurt from an explosion that wounded six Syrian soldiers as they escorted a convoy of U.N. officials in the restive Syrian town of Dera'a on Wednesday, media reports said.

Separately, at least two Syrian troops and one civilian were killed as violence continued in other parts of the Arab country despite a ceasefire brokered by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Reports also spoke of security forces shelling a rebel hideout near capital Damascus.

Quoting residents of Douma, a Damascus suburb, activists reported heavy shelling since dawn and bursts of gunfire in the town where rebel forces fighting the discredited Syrian regime have apparently sought refuge. Clashes erupted briefly between a security patrol and rebels in Damascus, but there were no casualties, the reports said.

Meanwhile, security forces raided houses and made arrests in two villages in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor after two Syrian soldiers were killed early on Wednesday morning.

U.N.-Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan on Tuesday said his peace plan that came into effect on April 12 but has since been regularly violated by both sides to the conflict was "probably the last chance to avoid a civil war" in Syria.

According to activists, nearly 12,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Syria since a popular uprising erupted in March, 2011 against the autocratic rule of President Bashar al-Assad who came to power eleven years ago after the death of his father Hafez al-Assad who ruled the Middle East country for more than three decades often suppressing dissent.

by RTT Staff Writer

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