News / Middle East

UN Syria Chief: Violence Impeded Mission’s Work

Maj. Gen. Robert Mood,  head of the U.N. observer mission in Syria, speaks to reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York, June 19, 2012 Maj. Gen. Robert Mood, head of the U.N. observer mission in Syria, speaks to reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York, June 19, 2012
x
Maj. Gen. Robert Mood,  head of the U.N. observer mission in Syria, speaks to reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York, June 19, 2012
Maj. Gen. Robert Mood, head of the U.N. observer mission in Syria, speaks to reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York, June 19, 2012
Margaret Besheer
UNITED NATIONS - The head of the U.N. monitoring mission in Syria said he suspended patrols by the 300 unarmed observers late last week because of security concerns for the monitors, but that they would remain in the country.  Norwegian Major General Robert Mood told the U.N. Security Council Tuesday that his monitors had been targeted several times in recent weeks, making it extremely difficult to carry out their mandated tasks.

Major General Robert Mood briefed council members for two hours in a closed-door meeting.  He said several factors went into his decision on Saturday to temporarily suspend the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria, or UNSMIS.

“I halted the operations with UNSMIS because of the risk level - the violence - and because it is difficult to implement mandated tasks in these circumstances," said Mood. "That in itself is a message.  We need to see a change if the activities of the mission in its current configuration, under the current mandate, is going to be meaningful.”

He said in order to restart patrols, there must be a significant reduction in violence and commitments from both the government and opposition for the observers’ safety. He said so far he has only received such a commitment from the government.

In April, the U.N. Security Council unanimously approved the deployment of up to 300 unarmed observers to monitor what was to be a cessation of hostilities in Syria and the implementation of mediator Kofi Annan’s six-point peace plan.  After a brief lull in the violence, attacks spiked, including massacres in the towns of al-Houla and Qubair.

The U.N. Security Council will have to decide by July 20 whether to extend the U.N.'s initial 90-day deployment.  A report with proposals for the observers from the Secretary-General is expected on July 2.

U.N. Peacekeeping Chief Hervé Ladsous also briefed the council.  He told reporters that the United Nations has decided not to modify the mission now, but would consider its options as the July deadline approaches.  He said they would center on scenarios in which the security situation improves dramatically, allowing the observers to carry out their mission or other options if that does not happen.  But Ladsous stressed that Kofi Annan’s six-point peace plan remains the focus of efforts.

“Again, one has to say there is no other plan, no other game in town," said Ladsous. "There is no 'Plan B' [alternative plan].  So the six-point plan of Kofi Annan remains the reference, the framework, for a settlement of this dramatic crisis.”

China’s Ambassador Li Baodong, who holds the rotating presidency of the 15-nation Security Council this month, said the council calls on all parties to implement the Annan plan immediately and without conditions.

Syria’s ambassador, Bashar Ja’afari, reiterated Damascus’ full commitment to the plan and added that the government hopes the observers can restart their mission soon.  

The United Nations says the political violence during the past 16 months has killed at least 10,000 Syrians and caused a humanitarian crisis, leaving more than 1 million Syrians in need of assistance and making at least 86,000 more refugees.

You May Like

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid