Syria violence escalates despite presence of UN monitors

While United Nations cease-fire monitors have been in Syria for several days visiting several towns, the government of Bashar al-Assad continued to launch attacks on the Damascus suburb of Douma.

Rebel sources claim that as many as 16 people were killed in recent days as confidence in the ability of UN monitors or envoy Kofi Annan to stem the violence wanes.

Adding to the fears of residents and UN monitors alike is the apparent rise in activity among radical Islamist groups.

According to the Washington Post, a radical organization known as the al-Nusra Front has emerged from obscurity to take claim for bombings in the cities of Damascus and Aleppo.

“Syrian activists and Western officials say the militants appear to be making little headway in recruiting supporters within the ranks of the still largely secular protest movement, whose unifying goal is the ouster of the regime led by President Bashar al-Assad,” adds the Post.

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