The UN observer mission is watching the situation in several Syrian cities including Damascus. Its head, Norwegian General Robert Mood, has told the media that the observers will cooperate with the Syrian government in implementing Kofi Annan’s settlement plan. He also said that the conflicting Syrian sides must renounce violence and enter into a dialogue.
UN observers arrive in Syria amid blasts
Militants used grenade launchers to fire on the building of the Central Bank of Syria, in downtown Damascus, on Sunday night. At the same time, a group of armed people attacked a police patrol in another part of Damascus, injuring four police officers. The attackers also used grenade launchers. Blasts continue to be reported from the Syrian capital.
At least 20 people died in yet another spate of blasts, in the city of Idlib, in the northwest of Syria. This came in a report Monday by the Syrian Supervisory Human Rights Council. Most victims are local security force officers.
The terrorist attacks have been launched at a time when international monitors are getting down to work in Syria. The 54-year old Norwegian General Robert Mood arrived in Syria yesterday to lead the group of UN monitors in the Arab country. The General is seasoned in carrying out peacekeeping operations, including in the Middle East. He specifically formed part of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon in the late 1980s.
"I call on all sides to stop the violence and pave the way for peace settlement in line with Kofi Annan’s plan. I call on all parties to help us and to cooperate with us in this very challenging task," Mood says.
The 30-strong group of the UN cease-fire observers includes four representatives of Russia, with more Russian observers expected to join the group in the coming days.
The number of the UN observers will increase to 300 by the end of next month. They will be on mission in Syria in the next 90 days.
Earlier, UN Under-Secretary for Peacekeeping Operations Herve Ladsous described as “unacceptable” Syrian authorities’ decision to refuse UN observers from any country in the Friends of Syria group.