Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns of further sanctions against Russia

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • First case of Ebola confirmed in Senegal

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • Chelsea’s Torres set for AC Milan switch

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • France shines in IMF list of world’s promising economists

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • Obama has 'no strategy yet' on potential Syria strikes

    Read more

  • Netflix to woo French with ‘House of Cards’ set in Marseille

    Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • Syrian refugees surpass 3 million, UN says

    Read more

  • West backs Ukrainian claims of Russian incursion

    Read more

  • Libyan PM resigns as Islamists set up rival administration

    Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

    Read more

  • Peru seizes record 6.5 tonnes of Europe-bound cocaine

    Read more

  • Pakistan army to mediate between PM, protesters

    Read more

  • In pictures: Billions of locusts invade Madagascan capital

    Read more

  • Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie say ‘I do’ in France

    Read more

Middle east

UN observers head to Syria amid shaky ceasefire

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-04-15

The United Nations was set to send a team of 30 advance observers to Syria on Sunday as part of a mission to monitor a tenuous ceasefire in the country amid reports of a surge in violence on the ground.

REUTERS - The United Nations will send an advance team of observers to Syria on Sunday to start monitoring a shaky ceasefire, even as a surge in violence on the ground threatened to derail international efforts to end more than a year of bloodshed.

Russia and China joined the rest of the Security Council to authorise the deployment of up to 30 unarmed observers in the first resolution on Syria the 15-nation council managed to approve unanimously since the uprising erupted in March 2011.

A spokesman for international mediator Kofi Annan said on Saturday an advance team of six monitors would arrive in Syria within 24 hours and deploy within 36 hours, with more to follow within days.

“I will make sure that this advance observer mission will be dispatched as soon as possible and try to make concrete proposals by the 18th of April for an official observer mission,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told United Nations radio separately in Geneva.

As Security Council members gathered to vote, fighting raged on inside Syria, with activists saying at least six people were killed in various incidents throughout the day.

In the opposition stronghold of Homs, activists reported the first shelling by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad since the U.N. and Arab League brokered ceasefire officially took effect three days ago.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said four people were killed during a funeral march in Aleppo, one by shelling in Homs and a sixth succumbed to wounds inflicted by torture in the central town of Rastan, straddling the Damascus-Aleppo road.

A video, shot in a destroyed part of what the cameraman said was the Homs neighbourhood of al-Qarabis, showed two tanks rushing through the streets to the sound of heavy gunfire and explosions.

“Look with your own eyes. Look, world. Watch what they are doing,” the man making the video screamed as a tank raised its turret.

Syria blames the violence on “terrorists” seeking to topple Assad and has repeatedly denied access to journalists, making it impossible to verify the reports independently.

The state news agency SANA said “armed terrorists” killed five people in ambushes around the country on Saturday, and kidnapped a parliamentary candidate from the north. An army colonel was also kidnapped in the central city of Hama.

Ban said in a statement that the Syrian government had the prime responsibility to stop the violence and withdraw its forces from urban areas.

France’s foreign ministry, while welcoming the U.N. vote, said it was now up to Syria to respect its commitments by withdrawing troops and heavy arms from populated areas.

“If this is not the case, it will be the responsibility of all the Security Council members to reflect on the measure that should be taken,” it said in a statement.

Violence and diplomacy

In the resolution, the Security Council condemned the “widespread violations of human rights by the Syrian authorities, as well as any human rights abuses by armed groups”.

It said those responsible would be held accountable and called on “all parties, including the opposition, immediately to cease all armed violence in all its forms”.

The text included a vague warning to Damascus, saying the council would “assess the implementation of this resolution and to consider further steps as appropriate”.

“The Syrian government must ensure that the monitoring team has freedom of movement and access, and it must not obstruct communication between the monitors and headquarters,” said British Foreign Secretary William Hague.

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice condemned what she said was Damascus’s “murderous rampage” over the last year. Asked if the Syrian forces’ shelling of Homs on Saturday was a violation of the ceasefire, Rice said: “Absolutely.”

The U.N. estimates Assad’s forces have killed more than 9,000 people in the uprising. Authorities say foreign-backed militants have killed more than 2,500 soldiers and police.

On Saturday, the state news agency SANA and opposition groups traded blame for gunfire in the second city of Aleppo that activists said killed four and wounded three.

In a video, reportedly filmed in the Hay al-Etha neighbourhood, the sound of gunfire and an explosion could be heard as men holding the Syrian revolutionary flag and children scattered from what appeared to be a demonstration.

SANA said: “Armed terrorist groups spread in Hay al-Etha, opened fire randomly and attacked public and private property.”

In another video, dozens of people, some with medical masks wrapped around their faces, ran amid the sound of gunshots and two men dragged an injured man along the street.

“We are in a state of war,” the camera-bearer shouted before running over to film a young man whose head was dripping with blood.

 

Date created : 2012-04-14

  • SYRIA

    Protests turn deadly as UN delays vote on observers

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    UN chief 'to send observers to Syria'

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Syria calm as ceasefire begins, observers say

    Read more

COMMENT(S)