The elusive quest for peace in Syria is now crippled with recent setbacks, as a U.N. observer mission has suspended operations and attempts to rescue civilians trapped in violence have proved futile.
Chaos erupted once again Monday as regime forces shelled the southern town of Tafas, an opposition group said, prompting calls for residents to hunker down in lower floors of houses. The attack came after more than 80 tanks infiltrated the town in Daraa province, the Local Coordination Committees of Syria said.
Elsewhere in Daraa, warplanes hovered at a low altitude over the city of Daeel as powerful explosion rocked the city, the LCC said.
Violence in the country has escalated in recent days, exacerbating an already risky situation for the about 300 monitors, said Gen. Robert Mood, who heads the U.N. monitoring mission in Syria.
"Civilians continue to be trapped by the escalating violence in Syria," Mood said in a statement Sunday. "In Homs, attempts to extract civilians from the line of fire over the past week have been unsuccessful."