UN: Both sides violating Syria ceasefire

2012-05-01 22:02
New York - The UN peacekeeping chief said on Tuesday that UN military observers in Syria are reporting ceasefire violations from the government and opposition, and he demanded an immediate halt to all violence.

Herve Ladsous refused to say which side was responsible for the most violations. But he said the unarmed observers have documented a number of Syrian heavy weapons deployed in populated areas - including armoured personnel carriers and Howitzers - despite the government's claim that it had withdrawn tanks and troops from cities and towns as required under international envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan.

Syrian forces fired mortar shells into a farming village near the Turkish border Tuesday, killing 10 people, among them two young children.

"The level of violence in Syria has been appalling," Ladsous said at a news conference. "I think the violations that are observed come from both sides. I would not establish a ratio. Now is not the time ... The important fact is that violations do come from both sides."

Twenty-four observers were in Syria on Tuesday in five locations - Damascus, Homs, Hama, Daraa and Idlib - all hotspots in the 13-month uprising that by UN account has killed more than 9 000 people, Ladsous said at a news conference. In each place, he said, they conduct mobile patrols during the day and sometimes at night.

He said the UN has commitments for about 150 observers which are now being processed, with new pledges coming in daily, and expects a rapid increase that will see the authorised total of 300 observers on the ground by the end of May.

But Ladsous said this requires Syria to give visas to the observers and it has already denied visas to three observers without reason. He declined to disclose their nationalities.

Read more on:    un  |  syria  |  syria conflict  |  uprisings

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