Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FASHION

Who's next in Paris, an event with international ready-to-wear and fashion accessories collections

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is there such thing as 'telegenic' victims of war?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

2014-07-22 07:21 IN THE FRENCH PRESS

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Dalia Grybauskaite, President of the Republic of Lithuania

Read more

WEB NEWS

Online scammers exploit MH17 crash

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Too many graphic images from Gaza ?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Gaza: online reactions

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Rise of the Robots

Read more

  • Hollande says French warship delivery will ‘depend on Russia’s attitude’

    Read more

  • Israeli soldier missing in Gaza, say media reports

    Read more

  • Ukraine rebels release bodies, black boxes from flight MH17

    Read more

  • A call for harmony in riot-hit ‘Little Jerusalem’ Paris suburb

    Read more

  • Widodo poised to become Indonesian president

    Read more

  • An ‘explosion of violence’: French press reacts to Gaza protests

    Read more

  • Notorious ‘VIP’ prison in Paris closed for renovations

    Read more

  • Christians in Iraq's Mosul face execution or exodus

    Read more

  • Scores killed as Libyan militias fight over airport

    Read more

  • Ukraine football players refuse to return home after friendly in France

    Read more

  • China steps up communist education to guard against ‘moral decline’

    Read more

  • French rugby stars attacked with machetes and swords

    Read more

  • Hollande announces new military operation in West Africa

    Read more

  • Kristoff wins Tour’s flat Stage 15

    Read more

Middle east

UN calls for 'restraint' as assault on Homs continues

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-04-17

UN chief Ban Ki-moon called Monday for Syria to show "maximum restraint" and to allow a UN observer mission full access, adding that Damascus was responsible for the safety of the mission as an assault on the rebel bastion of Homs continued.

AFP - Syrian forces waged fierce gunfights Monday with rebels in one city and shelled another, as the UN chief urged "maximum restraint" after the arrival of observers to oversee a truce aimed at ending 13 months of bloodshed.

President Bashar al-Assad's forces killed at least 12 civilians and were fighting rebels at Idlib in the northwest, while also shelling the flashpoint central city of Homs, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Since a UN-backed ceasefire came into force at dawn Thursday, at least 55 people, mostly civilians, have died in violence that prompted UN chief Ban Ki-moon to urge Syria to ensure the truce does not collapse, the Observatory said.

It said on Monday that 11,117 people have been killed in 13 months of unrest -- 7,972 civilians and 3,145 military and gunmen, including fewer than 600 rebel fighters.

In Brussels, Ban called on Damascus to exercise "maximum restraint" and the opposition to "fully cooperate" to cement the shaky ceasefire.

An advance team of six international observers arrived in Damascus late on Sunday, the United Nations said.

The delegation -- the first of 30 monitors the UN Security Council approved on Saturday -- will set up a headquarters and prepare routines to verify a cessation of hostilities.

"They've arrived and they will start work (on Monday) morning," UN peacekeeping department spokesman Kieran Dwyer said. "The other monitors in the advance party are still expected in Syria in coming days."

Their mission is just one part of the six-point peace plan that Syria agreed with UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.

The former UN chief wants more than 200 observers to be deployed in Syria, but the Security Council has said there would be a full mission only if the violence halts.

The United States warned on Monday that heightened violence in Syria threatens the sending of the full mission.

New attacks by government forces "call into question the wisdom and viability" of sending the full force, said the US ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Mark Toner pressed Syrian authorities to comply with other items in Annan's six-point plan, including releasing prisoners.

"There's no movement on any of the other five points and it appears that the fragile ceasefire is eroding as well," Toner told reporters.

The observers were welcomed by Damascus, which hoped they would see for themselves the "crimes" committed by "armed terrorist groups," said Syria's state news agency SANA.

They face a perilous task, with Western nations doubting Assad's commitment to the ceasefire amid reports his forces have kept battering rebel strongholds and clashed with rebels.

A spike in deadly violence forced the Arab League to end its own Syrian monitoring mission in late January, barely a month after sending observers.

Qatar's emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, told a press conference in Rome on Monday that the chances for success for the Annan peace plans were "no higher than three percent."

In the latest violence, security forces killed two civilians when they fired on a car in Hama, while a third passenger later died of wounds, said the Observatory.

In the same province, security forces killed a 16-year-old youth after it opened fire at random in the village of Khatab, the Observatory said.

Elsewhere, fierce gunfights broke out at dawn between forces loyal to Assad and rebels in the northwestern city of Idlib, it said. Four civilians were shot dead by security forces during the gunfight.

Security forces also shot dead a civilian in the town of Inkhel, southern Daraa province, where the uprising against Assad's iron-fisted rule erupted in March 2011.

Regime forces resumed shelling rebel neighbourhoods of Khaldiyeh and Bayyada in the central city of Homs, killing three people, the Observatory said.

The authorities on Sunday charged that rebels had "intensified" attacks on security forces and civilians, warning of a response, as state media published a list of alleged acts of violence.

Ban voiced concern over the shelling of Homs.

"I am very much concerned about what has happened since yesterday and today," he said. "It is important, absolutely important, that the Syrian government should take all the measures to keep this cessation of violence."

In Geneva, the UN-appointed panel tasked with investigating rights abuses in Syria on Monday voiced concern over reports of post-ceasefire shelling by government forces.

The Commission of Inquiry on Syria said it had received accounts that the Khaldiyeh neighbourhood and other districts of Homs had been bombarded since Thursday.

But the commission said it "remains hopeful that the ceasefire will hold and that the cessation of violence will contribute to an atmosphere that is conducive to peace and a comprehensive national dialogue."

Date created : 2012-04-17

  • SYRIA

    UN observer mission begins amid reports of violence

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Syria calm as ceasefire begins, observers say

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    UN observers head to Syria amid shaky ceasefire

    Read more

COMMENT(S)