With half of the 300 observers serving with the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) went home this week, the world body’s top peacekeeping official today said the United Nations is not packing up and going home.
Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Herve Ladsous clarified that the observers sent home this week could be recalled if circumstances in the country change.
“We found ourselves with too many people with not enough to do.” -Mr. Ladsous
At the news conference in Damascus, Mr. Ladsous noted that the decision to send half of the 300 observers home was taken in view of the constraints they faced, particularly in terms of security.
He also adds that the move was temporary.
“Should the circumstances change, and that is our sincere hope, then all these people will be recalled to duty.” -Mr. Ladsous
The Council last week extended UNSMIS for a final period of 30 days.
Reports say Mr. Ladsous arrived in Syria earlier this week and voiced concern about the reports of “very high levels of violence,” both in Damascus as well as in Aleppo, Deir E-Zour and Homs.
“We will try our best to contribute towards finding the solutions, but the solutions, especially the political solution, must exist in a framework and in a process that will be Syrian-owned and Syrian-led.” -Mr. Ladsous
Yesterday, the United Nations peacekeeping chief said crisis remains “of utmost concern.”
Last week, the Council extended UNSMIS for a final period of 30 days.
In May this year, with the ongoing violence in Syria, the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States on the Syrian Crisis Kofi Annan said the UN observer mission is possibly the only remaining chance to stabilize the war-torn country.
Mr. Annan has stressed that the ongoing levels of violence and human rights abuses in the Middle Eastern country are unacceptable.
He has said that it is clear that the presence of the observers serving with the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) has had a calming effect in some situations.
In April this year, UN Security Council authorized a UN supervision mission in Syria, charged with monitoring compliance with the full set of commitments and obligations laid out in Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan’s Six-Point Plan.
The “United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS)is comprised of an initial deployment of up to 300 unarmed military observers as well as an appropriate civilian component.”
Since the adoption of resolution 2042, in which the Council unanimously called on the Syrian government to honor all its obligations, including a sustained cessation of violence.
However, the regime has unleashed yet another wave of horrific violence against its own people resulting in the deaths of scores of Syrians daily.
Reports say the government’s use of shelling and heavy weaponry, in particular in Homs, has reached levels that surpass those before the ceasefire.
In addition, reports say precious little progress had been made on the issue of humanitarian access, with an estimated one million civilians still in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.
The violence in Syria, which began in March 2011 as a protest movement similar to those witnessed across the Middle East and North Africa, has claimed over 10,000 lives, mostly civilians, and displaced tens of thousands.