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Syria mostly calm after UN truce deadline

By The Associated Press

This article was published April 12, 2012 at 11:06 a.m.

— A fragile cease-fire brokered by the U.N. took hold in Syria on Thursday with regime forces apparently halting widespread attacks on the opposition. But there were reports of scattered violence and the government defied demands to pull troops back to barracks.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the onus was on President Bashar Assad’s regime to keep the peace.

“As of this moment, the situation looks calmer,” he told reporters in Geneva. But the cease-fire is “very fragile” and a single gunshot could derail the process, he added.

Ban will now ask the U.N. Security Council for speedy deployment of an observer mission, said special envoy Kofi Annan, who brokered the truce.

In the hours after the 6 a.m. deadline, a civilian was reported killed and the state-run news agency said “terrorist groups” launched a roadside bomb that killed a soldier. But there was no sign of the heavy shelling, rocket attacks and sniper fire that have become routine.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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