The Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday got off to a bloody start in Syria, with at least 84 people dying across the country, most of them soldiers, and Damascus rocked by clashes, a watchdog said on Monday.
The fresh surge of violence on Sunday, the first day of the Eid festivities, came as new UN peace envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, said it was no longer a question of “preventing civil war” but rather ending it.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 16 bodies were found in Al-Tall village, a rebel stronghold in Damascus province, and that another 34 soldiers, 28 civilians and 22 rebels died across the country on Sunday.
The Britain-based Observatory, which gathers its information from a network of activists on the ground, reported clashes between rebels
and loyalist troops in several southern Damascus neighbourhoods, where loud explosions were heard.
Activists of the Syrian Revolution General Commission also said the army used tanks and machineguns to pound the Damascus suburb of Maadamiet Al-Sham through the night.
Aleppo, the main northern city near the Turkish border, has borne the brunt of the conflict since fighting erupted there a month ago, with the regime warning it would be the scene of the “mother of all battles”.
Syrians have had to face food shortages, the closure of shops, and street demonstrations at Eid, the festival celebrated by Muslims across the world to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan.