UN Observers Initiate Dialogue With Syrian Opposition

With its mission to end violence in Syria, a team of UN observers initiated dialogue with opposition members on the ground where they visited Douma, an opposition-controlled city in the country.

Deputy Head of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) Martin Griffith told the opposition members that the MIssion wanted to get their guidance on all the priorities that Mission has to address.

Douma is located 10 kilometres north-west of Damascus.

Major General Robert Mood
Major General Robert Mood (left), Chief Military Observer and Head of the newly established UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS), meets with Faisal Mekdad, Syria’s Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, in Damascus. UN Photo/Neeraj Singh

Building Political Bridges In Syria

According to UNSMIS, the aim of the visit was to assist with mediation efforts and establish bridges to help build the space for a political process on the basis of six-point peace plan put forward by the Joint Special Envoy for the UN and the League of Arab States for the Syrian crisis, Kofi Annan.

UNSMIS reported its observers have been carrying out encounters similar to today’s meeting in other cities across Syria, with the most advanced being in Homs and Khan Sheikhoun.

Also today, UNSMIS observers succeeded in mediating the evacuation of a family from Al Qusoor, Homs, where they had been caught in crossfire between the two sides.

On Monday, in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, a UN team negotiated a swap between the Government and local authorities that led to the release of two detainees.

Earlier this month, at least six soldiers were wounded as bomb hit UN Observer Convoy while entering the city of Dara’a.

Apparently the roadside bomb exploded after the passage of four vehicles carrying the UN team, hitting the troops traveling behind them.

The Security Council authorized the establishment of a United Nations observer mission to Syria, for an initial period 90 days.

UN Supervision Mission

In a unanimous decision, Council members passed a resolution calling for the formation of the “United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS), comprising an initial deployment of up to 300 unarmed military observers as well as an appropriate civilian component.”

UNSMIS is tasked with two things: a) monitoring the cessation of violence in Syria and b) supporting the full implementation of a six-point plan put forward by Mr. Kofi Annan.

On 27th March, Mr. Annan reported that the Syrian government had accepted the six point-plan and pledged to implement it.

Six Point Plan

According to the report, below is the the six-point plan which asks the Syrian authorities to:

(1) commit to work with the Envoy in an inclusive Syrian-led political process to address the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people

(2) commit to stop the fighting and achieve urgently an effective United Nations supervised cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties to protect civilians

(3) ensure timely provision of humanitarian assistance to all areas affected by the fighting, and to this end, as immediate steps, to accept and implement a daily two hour humanitarian pause

(4) intensify the pace and scale of release of arbitrarily detained persons, including especially vulnerable categories of persons, and persons involved in peaceful political activities, provide without delay through appropriate channels a list of all places in which such persons are being detained

(5) ensure freedom of movement throughout the country for journalists and a non-discriminatory visa policy for them;

(6) respect freedom of association and the right to demonstrate peacefully as legally guaranteed.

The adoption of resolution 2042 in which the Council unanimously has 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.

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 9,000 lives, mostly civilians, and displaced tens of thousands.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.