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Truce shattered

Syrian rebels seek cover while firing on pro-Assad forces in Harasta, a town near to Damascus, today.

BEIRUT — Fighting erupted in a Damascus suburb and around an army base in northern Syria today, opposition sources said, as a truce marking a Muslim holiday crumbled almost before it had begun.

Three people were killed by tank fire and snipers in Harasta, a town near Damascus, activists said.

The capital was also hit by a car-bomb attack earlier today.

Activists said the device exploded near a playground in Daf al-Shouk, a residential area in southern Damascus.

State TV reported five people had been killed and more than 30 wounded, with children among the casualties.

The Syrian military had said it would hold fire this morning following an appeal by international mediator Lakhdar Brahimi for a pause in fighting which has killed 32,000 people and which threatens to draw regional powers into the conflict.

But violations by both sides swiftly marred the truce.

Rebels in a northern town near the Turkish border said a sniper had killed one of their fighters early on Friday and a Reuters journalist there heard the sound of four tank rounds.

“We don’t believe the ceasefire will work,” rebel commander Basel Eissa told Reuters. “There’s no Eid for us rebels on the front line. The only Eid we can celebrate will be liberation.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said rebels were trying to storm the Wadi al-Daif army base, which is less than 1 km (half a mile) from the Damascus-Aleppo highway, and that troops had fired artillery at a nearby village.

Citing opposition activists, the British-based group also said the army had fired six rockets at the besieged Khalidiya district of Homs, wounding two people and damaging houses.

President Bashar al-Assad’s forces had announced conditional acceptance of a cease fire last night. (Reuters)

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