The Latest: Police surround Syrian prison following rioting

AP News
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Posted: May 02, 2016 10:26 AM
The Latest: Police surround Syrian prison following rioting

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — The Latest on the conflict in Syria (all times local):

5:20 p.m.

Syrian activist groups say authorities have surrounded a prison in the central city of Hama in response to a riot inside the facility that saw prisoners take several guards hostage.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says security forces fired tear gas into Hama's main prison on Monday.

The Syrian prisoners' rights group Detainees' Voice says inmates went on strike after authorities tried to transfer five political prisoners on death row to the notorious Sidnaya prison in Damascus.

A Syrian state broadcaster, Al-Ikhbariya TV, is denying reports that inmates have taken control of the prison.

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3:10 p.m.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says that intense work is underway to try and restore the cessation of hostilities in Syria, particularly in the northern city of Aleppo.

Speaking in Geneva Monday after meeting with the U.N. envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, Kerry said both the Syrian government and the opposition have "contributed to this chaos." But he blasted the Syrian government for unleashing its "killing machine" on the

people of Syria.

He says the U.S. and Russia have agreed that there will be additional personnel stationed in Geneva around the clock to make sure there is more accountability and a better ability to enforce the cessation of hostilities on a day-to-day basis.

Kerry also spoke of "several proposals" on the table but added, "We are not there yet."

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3 p.m.

A spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross says a humanitarian convoy has delivered aid to 12,000 families trapped in a government-besieged area north of the central Syrian city of Homs.

Pawel Krzysiek said Monday that a convoy of 13 ICRC trucks and 3 trucks from the Syrian Arab Crescent are delivering food, hygiene items, diapers, and school books to the besieged town of Talbiseh.

The town's population has doubled to 60,000 with the influx of displaced residents form other areas, according to the ICRC.

Pawell says the joint ICRC and SARC team will assess medical, water, and sewage infrastructure in Talbiseh and neighboring villages.

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1:30 p.m.

Syria's state news agency says the military has extended its cease-fire around Damascus and opposition strongholds in the eastern suburbs for another 48 hours.

The Monday report said that President Bashar Assad's army would extend the cessation of hostilities that was declared Friday around the capital and the coastal Latakia region, following two weeks of escalating violence around the country.

The truce excludes Aleppo, Syria's largest city and a major battleground between rebels and pro-government forces.

Russia's Tass news agency quoted Russian Lt. Gen. Sergei Kuralenko, head of the Russian coordination center in Syria, as saying that talks are continuing about a cease-fire for Aleppo. He says the Damascus area cease-fire was brokered by the Russia and the U.S., "in agreement with the Syrian leadership and the moderate opposition."