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Failed Syria truce bodes ill for region

– Syria’s air force fired missiles and dropped barrel bombs on rebel strongholds while opposition fighters attacked regime positions Sunday, flouting a U.N.-backed cease-fire that was supposed to quiet fighting over a long holiday weekend but never took hold.

The failure to push through a truce suggests that the stalemated civil war will drag on, threatening to draw in Syria neighbors such as Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.

“This conflict has now taken a dynamic of its own which should be worrying to everyone,” said Salman Shaikh, director of the Brookings Doha Center think tank.

The U.N. tried to broker a halt to fighting over the four-day Eid al-Adha Muslim feast that began Friday, one of the holiest times of the Islamic calendar. But the truce was violated almost immediately after it was supposed to take effect, the same fate other cease-fires in Syria have met.

Activists said at least 110 people were killed Sunday, a toll similar to previous daily casualty tolls. They include 16 who died in an airstrike on the village of al-Barra in northern Syria’s mountainous Jabal al-Zawiya region.

From Britain, the Observatory for Human Rights also reported a car bomb exploded in a residential area in the Damascus neighborhood of Barzeh and wounded 15 people.

Although Syria’s death toll has topped 35,000 during the 19-month civil war, the West has been wary of intervening. There is concern about sparking a wider conflagration because Syria borders Israel and is allied with Iran and the powerful Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

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