Syria Condemned for Casualties Beyond Its Borders Ahead of Ceasefire
(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- Syrian defiance of a ceasefire pact it claimed to have agreed to last week is trying the patience of the international community.
With little sign that Damascus will stick to Tuesday's deadline to remove soldiers and heavy artillery out of population centers, the violence that had been confined to its borders suddenly spilled over into Turkey Monday as Syrian gunfire wounded two refugees and a Turkish translator who were inside a refugee camp.
Meanwhile, a cameraman for Al-Jadeed television was shot dead as he was standing on the Lebanese side of the border with Syria, another incident blamed on President Bashar al-Assad's forces.
The office of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon issued a statement that he "is alarmed by the reports of continued violence and human rights violations in Syria, which resulted in an increased flow of refugees into neighboring countries."
In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said, "We strongly condemn any attack by the Syrian regime on refugees in bordering countries and were absolutely outraged by today's report. We join the Turkish government in calling for the Syrian regime to immediately cease fire."
Hundreds of people have died in the days since U.N. special emissary Kofi Annan said al-Assad's government accepted his six-point plan to install a ceasefire that would lead to an end of the year-long crackdown on pro-democracy dissidents that has left more than 9,000 dead.
Over the weekend, al-Assad issued new demands that rebels agree in writing to lay down their arms, a condition critics say was a stalling tactic to continue the assault on his foes and grab more territory.
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