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As UN ceasefire monitors arrive in Syria, violence flares

Updated 6:28 p.m. ET: Syrian forces pounded central districts of the flashpoint city of Homs on Sunday and rebels fighting to oust President Bashar Assad attacked a police staton in the northern province of Aleppo, resident opposition activists and a rights group said.

"Early this morning we saw a helicopter and a spotter plane fly overhead. Ten minutes later, there was heavy shelling," Walid al-Fares, an activist living in Khalidiya, told Reuters.

The first team of United Nations ceasefire monitors arrived in Damascus, the Syrian capital, on Sunday as expected, a witness told Reuters. The team is expected to be deployed Monday.  

But as the monitors prepared to embark on their mission, the battled city of Homs was bombarded at "one shell per minute," activists told Reuters.   

 

The resumption of violence came as a small advance group of UN monitors prepared to go to Syria to oversee the ceasefire. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Saturday he would make firm proposals in days for a larger group of about 250 people, the BBC reported.

Rami Abdelrahman, head of the London-based Syrian Network for Human Rights, said shells were being fired at a rate of one a minute.

Abdelrahman said there had also been overnight clashes in rural Aleppo.

"People said they heard explosions and shooting after rebels attacked a police station and then clashed with police," he told Reuters.

The reports could not be verified.

The organization told msnbc.com in an email that it recorded 26 deaths across Syria on Saturday, most of which were in Homs. Among them were two children, two photographers, a police officer and two defecting soldiers, it said.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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