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Syrian Death Toll Rises to 50 Despite Cease-fire

Syrian rebel fighters take cover as a Syrian army sniper aims over a destroyed mosque in Tarik Al-Bab, southeast of Aleppo, October 26, 2012.

The Syrian government and opposition activists have traded blame for a series of deadly attacks that have strained a fragile cease-fire.

Activists say Syrian forces launched airstrikes on Saturday to pound targets in areas including the Damascus suburbs.

The government blamed militants for attacks on security forces and several bombings, including a blast near a church in the eastern city of Deir Ezzor.

The state-run SANA news agency said "armed terrorist groups" were continuing to breach a truce between the government and rebels that took effect on Friday in observance of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told VOA that more than 50 people were killed in anti-government related violence on Saturday, including at least 17 security force members. Saturday's violence raises the two-day death toll to about 200.

United Nations special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi arranged the cease-fire so Syrians on all sides could celebrate Eid al-Adha, the holiday marking the end of the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.

On Friday, Syrian television showed President Bashar al-Assad mingling with worshippers at prayers, while some ordinary Syrians said they were just trying to stay alive and were in no mood to celebrate.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.