Syria's shaky ceasefire is continuing to unravel as shelling and bombardments go on five days after it came into force.

UN monitors were meeting Syrian foreign ministry officials in Damascus to set out the ground rules. They would include establishing the parameters of the monitors' freedom of movement.

The team will be led by Moroccan colonel Ahmed Himmiche. The rest of the team, about 25 in all, are expected over the next few days.

"We will start our mission as soon as possible and we hope it will be a success," Himmiche told AP.

Peace envoy Kofi Annan's spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said that the mission would start with setting up operating headquarters, and reaching out to the Syrian government and the opposition forces so that both sides fully understand the role of the UN.

Little Hope for Peace

Despite a decrease in violence in Syria, government troop attacks on rebel strongholds are still going on with casualties being reported on a daily basis.

Activists in Homs have said heavy shelling had hit a number of places including Khaldiyeh and Bayada. Several buildings across the city were ablaze as a result of the bombardments.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights said at least 29 people were killed across Syria, most of them in Homs.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said two people were killed on 16 April 16 in Hama after security forces opened fire on their car.

Sana, the Syrian state news agency, accused armed terrorists groups of being responsible for the violence.

"In conjunction with the UN Security Council resolution to send international observers to monitor the implementation of the initiative of Kofi Annan, the armed terrorist groups have escalated their aggression against the army, the law enforcement forces and civilians," Sana quoted a military source saying.

Rebel armed groups such as the Free Syrian Army have refused to lay down their weapons.

The international community and the United Nations still hope the monitoring teams will be able to stabilise the situation and push for greater observance of the peace plan.

But observers remain sceptical because of President Bashar al-Assad's repeated broken promises to end the violence and previous UN monitoring teams' failure to stop the bloodshed.

Opposition group, including the Local Co-ordination Committees and the Muslim Brotherhood have called on the monitoring team to set a strict timetable for the implementatation of Annan's peace plan and warned they would not remain indefinitely committed to "an empty truce".

Hamas Official Disappears

Meanwhile, a Hamas official said that Mustafa Lidawi, a senior member of the Palestinian group, had been abducted near Damascus.

Lidawi, who opposed the Hamas-Fatah unity deal aimed at bringing the two warring factions together, is seen as a supporter of the Assad regime.

The Syrian uprising dented the relationship between Damascus and Hamas.

While Assad was largely seen as one of the patron of Hamas, the Palestinian group was forced to distance itself from the dictator following the Syrian uprising.