UN observer chief leaves Syria

2012-08-25 12:00
United Nations observers visiting the northeastern town of Hasaka, Syria. (Sana/HO, AFP)

United Nations observers visiting the northeastern town of Hasaka, Syria. (Sana/HO, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Damascus - The head of the now-defunct UN observer team in Syria, General Babacar Gaye, left Damascus on Saturday after the Security Council called time on the troubled mission, his aides said.

The mission officially ended on at midnight last Sunday amid escalating violence and divisions at the UN Security Council over how to end a conflict now in its 18th month.

Created by a Security Council resolution in April, a team of some 300 truce monitors was progressively deployed into Syria as part of former UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan's six-point plan to end the bloodshed.

But the UN Supervision Mission in Syria was suspended in June and numbers cut back because of the mounting violence, as both sides violated a ceasefire that was meant to have been the cornerstone of Annan's plan.

Last week, Gaye accused both the Syrian army and rebel forces of failing to protect civilians as the fighting escalated.

"Both parties have obligations under international humanitarian law to make sure that civilians are protected," he told reporters in Damascus last Saturday. "These obligations have not been respected."

Annan himself, a former UN secretary general, formally steps down as international envoy on Syria at the end of this month after complaining about a lack of international support in the face of the mounting bloodshed.

The United Nations plans to maintain a political liaison office in Damascus to support the mediation efforts of his successor, veteran Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi, who said on Friday he was "scared" of the scale of the task ahead.

Officials have said the liaison office would probably be made up of between 20 and 30 people, including political, humanitarian and military experts.

What began in March 2011 as a peaceful uprising demanding the fall of President Bashar al-Assad's regime has grown into a bloody insurgency, after the army and security forces launched a major crackdown across the country.

At least 24 500 people have been killed, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, while the UN puts the death toll at 17 000.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    un  |  kofi annan  |  bashar assad  |  lakhdar brahimi  |  syria  |  syria conflict

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

6 reasons Boks won’t botch it
Fiji far too strong for Uruguay
Burger hopes for elusive World Cup win
As it happened: Fiji 47-15 Uruguay
Traffic Alerts

Relationships and significant connections may play an important role in your day today. Let the warmth of the Leo moon inspire you...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.