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A pause in fighting allows Syrians to get food, collect their dead in Idlib

Photojournalist Robert King, Polaris, reports from Syria — During a temporary cease-fire the Syrian army allowed local villagers to collect and identify their dead in Taftanaz, Idlib on Thursday, April 5.

Robert King / Polaris

Robert King / Polaris

King continues: Hundreds of bodies were inside a local mosque that was also destroyed during the two day siege.  President Bashar al-Assad's army has stepped up attacks on rebellious villages with attack helicopters, T72 tanks and heavy artillery despite agreeing to honor the six-point peace plan established by the United Nations.

Robert King / Polaris

In Damascus, The Associated Press reports, the government launched a blistering assault Thursday on the outskirts of its capital, shelling residential areas and deploying snipers on rooftops as international envoy Kofi Annan demanded every fighter lay down arms in time for a U.N.-brokered cease-fire.

The bloodshed undermined already fading hopes that more than a year of violence will end soon, and France accused Assad of trying to fool the world by accepting Annan's deadline to pull the army back from population centers by April 10.

According to the plan, rebels are supposed to stop fighting 48 hours later, paving the way for talks to end Assad's violent suppression of the uprising against his rule. The U.N. says more than 9,000 people have died. Read more.

Robert King / Polaris