A fragile UN-brokered ceasefire in Syria entered a second day on Friday with the country poised for mass anti-government protests in the afternoon. Our Observers on the ground say heavy shelling in flashpoint cities such as Homs has halted, but that snipers have yet to lay down their weapons.
The ceasefire is part of a larger six-point plan brokered by UN special envoy Kofi Annan and aimed at ending nearly 13 months of bloodshed in the country. Under the terms of the agreement, backed by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government on April 2, all tanks were due to pull out of Syrian cities by April 10 ahead of a ceasefire to be imposed 48 hours later.
At first it appeared that Syria’s government had no intention of respecting Annan’s plan, as shelling continued on April 11 and tanks remained deployed in cities and towns across the country. However, shortly before the ceasefire was to come into effect, the minister of defence ordered his troops to halt all military actions by 6 am Thursday morning. Since then, the fragile truce has been interrupted by skirmishes reported early on Friday along the border with Turkey.
According to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, at least 10,000 people have been killed since a crackdown on anti-government protests began more than one year ago, the majority of which were civilian deaths.
Military presence at a check-point  just outside the capital, Damascus. Video posted on YouTube by Coordinatorkesweh.
Post written with FRANCE 24 journalist Mahamadou Sawaneh.

"We don’t feel safe"

Mohammad Ali is an activist based in Zabadani, a city in south-west Syria.
Yesterday morning at around 5:50 am [just ten minutes before the 6 am deadline to halt all military actions]
dozens of rockets fell on Al-Barda street in Zabadani. They were the last explosions we heard just before the ceasefire came into effect. Despite this, we haven’t seen the slightest change in the military presence here. There are still check-points all around and throughout the city of Zabadani. There are still snipers perched on building roofs and the tanks still have their canon guns pointing at us. We don’t feel safe.
A tank remained in the streets of Zabadani even after the ceasefire came into effect on Thursday. Video posted on YouTube by sawsanalhasan.
I don’t have faith in Annan’s plan. I think that the authorities are trying to bide their time, as they have been doing since the very beginning. If they were sincere about their intentions, they would have withdrawn their tanks, ordered the snipers to stop targeting us and forced their troops to return to their barracks. The population here has lost hope that a foreign initiative might bring an end to the bloodshed ever since the Arab League’s plan [which included a short-lived observer mission earlier this year] failed.

"Snipers continue to shoot in spite of the ceasefire"

Rami H. (not his real name) is an activist based in Homs.
Yesterday, the situation was much calmer than it has been in recent days. Apart from sporadic gunfire early in the morning, there wasn’t any shelling. The military presence here, however, is still very heavy. There are tanks, soldiers, check-points and snipers throughout Homs.
Sniper on the roof of a hospital in Homs. Video posted on YouTube by homshoms2011.
Snipers pose the biggest threat right now. Almost half of the people who have been killed the last few days were shot dead by sniper fire. They kept shooting yesterday in spite of the ceasefire. At least four people were injured by sniper fire alone in Homs yesterday morning.
Life has returned to normal. The stores are still closed and people don’t dare leave their homes out of fear of becoming a walking target. The situation won’t change until the government orders its forces to pull out of the city.