Blast Erupts Near Syria Monitors’ Convoy

Posted May 9th, 2012 at 9:15 am (UTC-5)
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A roadside bomb has exploded in Syria near a convoy that included United Nations monitors. The blast wounded at least six Syrian soldiers riding in an escort vehicle.

Wednesday's bombing took place in the southern flashpoint city of Dara'a, just moments after the U.N. observers passed by.

The observer mission head, Norwegian Major General Robert Mood, was part of the convoy but neither Mood nor any of the monitors was wounded.

The blast highlights the dangers for the U.N. mission, which is trying to enforce a shaky cease-fire between government forces and rebels.

Mood condemned the attack. He is quoted by his spokesman as saying it was “an example of what the Syrian people were suffering on a daily basis” and that “all forms of violence must stop.”

There were reports Wednesday of fighting between government forces and rebels in parts of Damascus and near the Lebanese border.

U.N. observers have been fanning out across Syria to monitor compliance with the cease-fire, which is part of a peace plan brokered by international envoy Kofi Annan.

On Tuesday, Mr. Annan said the observer mission was “possibly the only remaining chance” to stabilize Syria. After briefing the U.N. Security Council by video link, he told reporters there was “profound concern” the country could otherwise slide into civil war.

The Syrian government on Wednesday resumed vote-counting from Monday's parliamentary elections that opposition groups dismissed as a sham.

The state-run SANA news agency said officials had finished tallying votes in several several regions, including Idlib and Dara'a.

More than 7,000 candidates were vying for seats in the 250-member parliament. The election was a government effort to show it is enacting democratic reforms, but opposition groups say the vote lacked credibility because the government has continued its year-long crackdown on dissent.

The government has blamed armed terrorist groups for much of the unrest.

The U.N. says more than 9,000 people have been killed in violence related to the anti-government uprising which erupted more than a year ago.