Last updated: 21 July, 2012

At least 20 killed in Syria on Saturday

At least 20 people were killed across Syria on Saturday, as the clock started ticking on a 30-day deadline for violence to abate sufficiently for a troubled UN observer mission to remain in place.

At least 12 civilians were among the dead as clashes rocked both of the country’s largest cities, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

In the capital, seven civilians were killed, most of them by sniper fire, the Britain-based watchdog said. It had no immediate casualty toll for what it said were very fierce clashes between troops and rebels in second city Aleppo.

The renewed bloodshed came a day after the Security Council added a “final” 30 days to the mandate of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria, tasked with overseeing a ceasefire that was supposed to have taken effect in April but which has been violated daily.

A resolution passed unanimously late Friday said any further extension would only be considered if UN chief Ban Ki-moon “reports, and the Security Council confirms, the cessation of the use of heavy weapons and a reduction in the level of violence sufficient to allow UNSMIS to implement its mandate.”

The vote came a day after 302 people were killed in what the Observatory said was the deadliest day of the more than 16-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule.