GENEVA (Reuters) - International mediator Kofi Annan voiced concern on Monday over the shelling of the Syrian opposition stronghold of Homs and reports of the use of mortar bombs, helicopters and tanks in Haffeh, near the coast.
“There are indications that a large number of civilians are trapped in these towns,” Annan’s spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said in a statement issued in Geneva.
Annan, referring to Haffeh as al-Haffa, called for UN military observers, who are monitoring a tattered ceasefire declared two months ago, to be allowed into the town in the Mediterranean province of Latakia.
“The Joint Special Envoy demands that the parties take all steps to ensure that civilians are not harmed, and further demands that entry of the UN Military Observers be allowed to the town of al-Haffa immediately,” the statement said.
Annan held talks in Damascus with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad two weeks ago in a bid to halt the spiraling violence and implement his six-point peace plan. The Assad government blames foreign-backed terrorists for the bloodshed.
Syrian forces shelled opposition strongholds in the central province of Homs and eastern Deir al-Zor on Monday and clashed with rebels in violence which killed 29 people across the country, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay and Tom Miles; Editing by Andrew Roche