April 26 - U.N. ceasefire observers head for the troubled town of Douma. Nick Rowlands reports.
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U.N. ceasefire observers in Syria prepare to head into the field.
Their first port of call is the town of Douma, east of Damascus.
Following a visit by the monitors on Monday, activists say the town was attacked by government forces backed by tanks.
Residents say that, in defiance of U.N.-backed ceasefire pledges by the government, shelling of Douma continued on Wednesday.
The U.N. truce team spokesman said the monitors returned to Douma on Wednesday to calm the situation.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) NEERAJ SINGH, U.N. OFFICIAL OF ADVANCED TEAM, SAYING:
"In this process we have a role of de-escalating the situation. We do that -- and we did that yesterday in Douma -- by maintaining our presence on the ground, patrolling the area for a good number of hours, through our liaison activities."
A Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteer was also killed in Douma on Tuesday, although the circumstances of the death are unclear.
A spokeswoman condemned what she said was an attack on Syrian Arab Red Crescent health care workers.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) RABAB AL-RIFAI, ICRC COMMUNICATION DELAGTE A SPOKESWOMAN IN SYRIA, SAYING:
"What should happen in the future that this emblem is respected. Be it on people, be it on vehicles, be it on buildings and that people providing life saving assistance are respected at all times. They're protected. They're not attacked and their work must also be facilitated."
So far, there are only 15 unarmed U.N. monitors in Syria out of a planned final team of 300.
Nick Rowlands, Reuters.
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