Homs, Syria
Homs, Syria

As Syria said it has agreed to end all military operation by 0300GMT Thursday April 12, activists reported two new massacres committed by the security forces in the Deir Ba'lbeh neighbourhood of Homs.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights said 42 people were killed the first time and 18 people in a second attack. At least five women and five children were killed the organisation added.

They said the security forces entered Hafara district and raided they area for a few days, terrorising residents and shooting civilians who tried to flee.

SNHR said residents who escaped told its members on the ground crimes committed by the security forces included "killings, torture, slaughter, dragging young men by tanks, raping women and killing children in front of their parents."

Activist said violence was on-going on Wednesday April 11 with 11 people reported dead.

"After our armed forces completed successful operations in combating the criminal acts of the armed terrorist groups and enforced the state's rule over its territory, it has been decided to stop these operations from Thursday morning," state TV quoted a ministry official as saying.

April 12 was the new deadline set for ceasefire in Syria by mediator Kofi Annan's six-point plan.

Annan, currently on a visit in Iran, Syria's strong ally, said Damascus had reiterated its commitment to end the violence.

"We have been in touch with them and have had positive answers from them and have also approached governments with influence to ensure that all parties respect the ceasefire," he told reporters in Tehran.

Syria had previously promised to withdraw its troops and heavy weapons from the city centres by April 10.

Syria's foreign minister said Tuesday troops had started withdrawing from certain areas, but complained attacks by 'terrorist groups" had increased, leading to renewed violence.

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has blamed the 13-month long bloodshed on armed gangs which he says are backed by foreign powers to destabilise his government.

Syria's new promise came as its rejection of Annan's plan's first deadline provoked international uproar and condemnations.

"President Assad and his closest cronies should be under no doubt that they will be held to account for their actions," Foreign Secretary William Hague said, adding he wanted the UN Security Council to refer Assad to the International Criminal Court.

Syria has demanded the rebels to give up their arms.

The main armed opposition group, the Free Syrian Army said while its fighters remained committed to end the violence, it did not recognise the Assad government as legitimate "and for that reason we will not give guarantees".