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Truce monitors get to work in Syria

GENEVA (Reuters) - An advance team of U.N. ceasefire monitors started work in Syria on Monday, seeking to ensure that both government forces and the opposition respect the terms of a truce, mediator Kofi Annan's spokesman said.

A team of six observers arrived in Damascus late on Sunday night, led by Moroccan Colonel Ahmed Himmiche.

"The mission will start with setting up operating headquarters this morning, and reaching out to the Syrian government and the opposition forces so that both sides fully understand the role of the U.N. observers," spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said in a statement.

"The remaining 25 are expected to arrive in the next few days," he said.

The United Nations Security Council agreed on Saturday to send the unarmed monitors to supervise the ceasefire that officially began last Thursday but has been marked by reports of violence and shelling in the flashpoint city of Homs.

On Sunday, Fawzi said he expected the Security Council to adopt a second resolution by the end of the week to authorize the deployment of a full observer mission of at least 250 monitors, including human rights experts.

(This story is filed to correct name of spokesman in 3rd para to Ahmad Fawzi)

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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