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U.N. chief: Syrian violence unacceptable
(CNN) -- International envoy Kofi Annan will brief the United Nations Security Council on the Syrian crisis Tuesday, a day after U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the situation has become one of the "most serious and gravest concerns of the international community."
"More than 9,000 people have been killed during the last 14 months. This is totally unacceptable and an intolerable situation," Ban said.
But the killing hasn't stopped.
At least 17 people died across Syria on Tuesday, including a soldier who was shot weeks ago in Aleppo while trying to defect and a young man shot by security forces in Hama, the opposition Local Coordination Committees (LCC) of Syria said.
In addition, the LCC reported explosions in Damascus, Homs and Hama.
Amid the violence and pressure on President Bashar al-Assad to stand down, the Syrian government touted a "wide turnout" for parliamentary elections Monday when more than 7,000 candidates vied for 250 parliamentary seats.
The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported that judicial supervision of the vote would ensure "fairness, freedom and democracy."
But members of the opposition urged Syrians to boycott the elections, saying a vote for any of the candidates amounted to a vote for al-Assad, whose family has ruled the country for 42 years.
"We are moving ahead till we topple the regime," read a slogan on an opposition election poster that purported to show its candidates, victims of al-Assad's violent crackdown on those calling for his ouster.
Opposition activists said at least 34 people were killed Monday, including five children, two women and five defected soldiers. The government news service said 15 military members were buried Monday.
In parts of Daraa province, regime strongmen tried to force civilians to vote, the LCC said. The group reported gunfire in Yadouda, where security forces used bulldozers to open roads and break a strike.
In the embattled Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs, an opposition member identified as Abo Odi said there was no sign of an election in the bombed-out community.
"Homs is totally destroyed, and some neighborhoods are empty of people, and the rest of the city is controlled by the army or by (the rebel Free Syrian Army)," he said.
The election follows the adoption of a new constitution under which political parties can compete with al-Assad's ruling Baath Party. A referendum in February, hailed by government supporters as a step toward reform, was widely ridiculed by analysts and the opposition as window dressing.
Spurred by the success of popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, Syrians first took to the streets in March 2011 calling for reforms and increased political freedoms. But a brutal government crackdown against demonstrators saw the movement quickly devolve into a bloody uprising.
Both the Syrian regime and the rebel Free Syrian Army have agreed to a peace plan brokered by Annan, the U.N.-Arab League special envoy to Syria. A key element of the plan involves a cease-fire by all parties and the withdrawal of Syrian forces from populated areas.
But reports of attacks have only mounted since April 12 when the cease-fire was supposed to go into effect.
Annan's plan calls for the government to allow humanitarian aid groups access to the population, the release of detainees and initiation of political dialogue.
The United Nations has 70 observers in Syria with more expected next week and 300 by the end of the month to monitor the cease-fire and peace plan.
Many nations, including many of Syria's Arab neighbors, have condemned the ongoing violence, which has pitted al-Assad's Alawite minority-dominated government against a predominantly Sunni uprising.
The opposition LCC says more than 11,000 people have been killed in 14 months. CNN cannot independently verify reports of violence and deaths within Syria as the government has restricted access by most of the international media.
CNN's Saad Abedine, Ivan Watson and Stacey Samuel and journalist Omar al Muqdad contributed to this report.
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