UN to weigh future of UN mission in Syria

2012-06-19 12:01

Damascus - The UN Security Council was to examine the future of its observer mission in violence-wracked Syria on Tuesday after a joint US-Russian call for an immediate end to the conflict.

The mission's leader Major General Robert Mood, whose 300 unarmed monitors suspended operations on Saturday because of escalating bloodshed, was to brief the Security Council.

With civilians trapped by regime shelling of rebel bastions such as the central city of Homs, Mood has urged the government and opposition to let "women, children, the elderly and the injured to leave conflict zones".

And UN rights chief Navi Pillay has demanded a halt to government bombardment of populated areas. "Such actions amount to crimes against humanity and possible war crimes," Pillay told the UN Human Rights Council.

US President Barack Obama and Russia's President Vladimir Putin on Monday called for an "immediate cessation of all violence".

"In order to stop the bloodshed in Syria, we call for an immediate cessation of all violence," the two leaders said in a statement after meeting on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico.

Pledge to heal the conflict

"We are united in the belief that the Syrian people should have the opportunity to independently and democratically choose their own future," the leaders said.

Putin told reporters that he and Obama had found "many common points" on the 15-month-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad that monitors say has cost more than 14 400 lives.

Obama said he and Putin agreed on the need for a "political process" to halt the conflict and had pledged to work with UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, who has crafted a largely-ignored six-point plan aimed at halting the bloodshed.

But there was little sign they had agreed on concrete means to end the conflict, following US frustration at Russia's blocking of Security Council moves against Assad.

The United States, Britain and France are working on a new UN Council resolution in which they want to threaten sanctions against Assad. But Russia, Syria's main international ally, and China have already blocked two resolutions.

Moscow news reports, meanwhile, said Russia is preparing to send two amphibious assault ships and marines to the Syrian port of Tartus where Russia has a naval base to ensure the safety of its nationals.

No confirmation

The amphibious warships, The Nikolai Filchenkov and The Tsezar Kunikov, are to be sent to Tartus with a "large" group of marines, Interfax news agency quoted an officer at Russian naval headquarters as saying.

There was no official confirmation of the report by Russian authorities.

The Tsezar Kunikov can carry 150 troops and armaments including tanks, while The Nikolai Filchenkov can carry up to 1 500 tons of cargo and equipment, the report said.

Interfax said the ships could be used to evacuate Russian nationals.

Syrian government forces on Monday pounded rebel strongholds in Homs and Damascus, as the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 94 people were killed across the country, including 63 civilians.

Government troops stepped up a siege of Tasas in the southern province of Daraa, cradle of the anti-regime revolt, said the rebel Free Syrian Army, adding that the army broke into the south of Tasas and launched raids.

Plan in question

Clashes and shelling persisted in several areas of Damascus province, including the towns of Douma and Qudsaya which have been under bombardment for the past five days.

In New York, diplomats raised doubts about the viability of the observer mission.

"I think there will be a lot of member states of the council, including us, who will be questioning now what the future is for the mission and, therefore, by extension the Annan plan," said Britain's UN ambassador Mark Lyall Grant.

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-06-19 12:37

    The world needs a strong Russia indeed to keep the neo con thugs from looting the world and imposing their military will on others. Russia must act from the position of power. It is the only thing the US understand.

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-06-19 14:57

    ""And UN rights chief Navi Pillay has demanded a halt to government bombardment of populated areas. "Such actions amount to crimes against humanity and possible war crimes," Pillay "" An illegitimate regime of thugs, bombing their 'OWN PEOPLE' , so they can remain in power, should be enough for any decent human being, to DEMAND an end to these assad TERRORISTS. For anyone to come and confuse this matter, which are actually irrelevant issues, like Russia, the USA, Iran, Libya, is ABSURD. This is a nation undere siege, where mothers and their children are living in fear , 24/7, not to be SLAUGHTERD BY assad's SCUM !!!

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-06-19 18:50

      Patrick, Now slowly , slowly....... Russia makes it possible , for this assad terrorist to slaughter his opposition. Russia is no longer part of the solution in Syria. The Syrians themselves will get this DOG out of their country !!

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-06-19 16:59

    And by the way, RUSSIA DOES NOT DESERVE 'ANY' SUPPORT FROM AFRICA We in Africa, DON'T need Russia. They have NEVER created even ONE job in SA, or in the whole of Africa. They have NEVER invested, even ONE Roebel in SA, or in the whole of Africa. THEY USE Africa for their own political adventures. They are a bunch of selfish bastards. Screw Russia !!

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-06-19 17:14

      More puerile drivel. You are becoming ever more divorced from the little grip on reality you had. Russia has never harmed Africa, not even once in their history. The opposite is true of those you worship. It is this disconnect from reality that is reminiscent of someone who is psychotic.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-06-19 18:55

      It is actually unbelievable what the Libyans have achieved since that terrorist gaddafi vitited the abatoir. This rot had destroyed just about everything in THEIR country. In 3 weeks time, 2 million Libyans will go and vote, who THEY want them to govern. And it won't be a corrupt, violent and evil family !!!! It must eat your guts out !! Tough luck, but you always go for LOSERS.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-06-19 19:04

      Patrick, I have NEVER pretended to talk on behalf of Africa. Only you, could come up with such a rediculous comment. It is only the extremists like yourself, who pretend to talk on behalf of others. Everyone else, just want to share their own opinion !!

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-06-19 20:08

      Only the silly and naive believe that a country can have a democracy working, within a few months after their tyrants/dictators left. It can take a few years, but be rest assured, both Egypt and Libya will get a government elected by their people, AND a respect and protection for minorities. NO doubt about it.!!!!

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-06-20 09:34

      Patrick, I don't know what you are on about !!! If you are lonely, go to a dating site !!

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