Sabtu, 14 April 2012

Items of Interest regarding syria including the UN approving unarmed monitors for syria

Kidnappings, assassinations surge in Syria amid shaky ceasefire   2012-04-14 19:36:39             

 • Syrian media reported a surge of kidnappings and assassinations targeting government officials.
 • When the ceasefire went into effect, many officials were killed, and dozens were wounded.
 • The United Nations estimated that more than 9,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict.
DAMASCUS, April 14 (Xinhua) -- As the UN-backed ceasefire in Syria entered its third day on Saturday, Syrian media reported a surge of kidnappings and assassinations targeting government officials and prominent figures, raising fears that the country is sliding towards a civil war.
According to official SANA news agency, a candidate for Syria's upcoming parliamentary elections, Mohammad Ismail al-Ahmed, was kidnapped Saturday by an "armed terrorist group" in the northern province of Idlib.
"Terrorists" stormed al-Ahmed's house in Idlib's al-Tih town, shot at him, and took him to an unknown destination, SANA said.
According to private media reports, the so-called "battalions of Mohammed", a rebel group, have recently threatened to kill whoever might put himself as a candidate for the forthcoming parliamentary elections.
The group said in a video uploaded onto YouTube that they would force the candidates to withdraw from the parliamentary elections.
They also claimed responsibility for the earlier assassination of Lieutenant Colonel Youssef Saqqer in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour.
Earlier Saturday, another armed group kidnapped Colonel Mohammad Eid in the central province of Hama and took him to an unknown place, SANA said.
Private websites and TV close to the Syrian government said Saturday that a prominent preacher was assassinated late Friday in the Damascus suburb of Saida Zeinab.
The reports said Sayyed Nasser al-Allawi, the imam and preacher of al-Hossayniya Scientific Hawza, was shot from a near distance in front of his house and died after being taken to a nearby hospital.
Al-Allawi, born in Syria and with an Afghan origin, was active in providing assistance for vulnerable families fleeing to the area because of the unrest, the reports said.
Also on Friday, "armed terrorist groups" killed Major Moussa Youssef in the central province of Hama, an act decried by SANA as an attempt to "undermine Syria's stability and blow up any effort to find a political solution to the crisis."
Even on Thursday, when the ceasefire proposed by UN-Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan went into effect, officials including a brigadier general in the Damascus suburb of Jaramana, a first lieutenant in the northern province of Aleppo, and the secretary of al-Baath Party's office in al-Mazareeb town of the southern Daraa province were killed, and dozens of officers were wounded.
"Foreign-backed armed terrorist groups in Syria have been escalating their attacks, arsons and assassinations, especially following the Syrian army's decision to halt its badly-needed operations against the terrorists," SANA said.
The Syrian government has repeatedly blamed the year-long unrest on armed groups working out a foreign conspiracy. It said recently that over 6,000 people, including more than 2,500 soldiers and policemen, have been killed in the unrest.
Syrian Defense Ministry said Wednesday that it would halt military operations in Syrian cities Thursday morning in compliance with the ceasefire deadline, but would reserve the right to respond to any attack by "armed terrorist groups" against civilians, security agents and military personnel.
The United Nations estimated that more than 9,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict, including at least 500 children.

UN Security Council decides to send advance team of unarmed observers to Syria   2012-04-14 23:44:18             
UNITED NATIONS, April 14 (Xinhua) -- The UN Security Council on Saturday decided to send an advance team of up to 30 unarmed military observers to Syria to monitor a ceasefire between the Syrian government forces and armed opposition fighters.
The Security Council adopted a resolution authorizing the observers to "liaise with the parties and to begin to report on the implementation of a full cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties."
The Security Council "expresses its intention, subject to a sustained cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties, to establish immediately, after consultations between the secretary-general and the Syrian government, a United Nations supervision mission in Syria to monitor a cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties," the resolution said.
The UN mission is also mandated to monitor the implementation of the six-point peace plan by Kofi Annan, the joint special envoy of the UN and Arab League for Syria, the resolution said.
Annan's six-point plan, widely backed by the international community, calls for the withdrawal of heavy weapons and troops from population centers, a daily halt in fighting for the delivery of humanitarian aid and treatment for the wounded, as well as talks between the government and opposition.
The Syrian government has accepted Annan's six-point plan and the April 10 deadline to put an early end to the fighting in the Middle East country, which has been plunged into the crisis since March 2011.

UN approves ceasefire monitors for Syria
Security Council passes resolution authorising deployment of observers to oversee Kofi Annan's six-point peace plan.
Last Modified: 14 Apr 2012 15:56
 Russia and China joined the other 13 council members and voted in favor of the draft resolution [Reuters]
The United Nations Security Council has unanimously approved the deployment of the first wave of UN military observers to monitor a fragile ceasefire between the Syrian government and opposition fighters.

The resolution adopted Saturday morning calls on both sides to immediately "cease all armed violence in all its forms".
It also calls on the Syrian government to implement the demand by international envoy Kofi Annan that it pull troops and heavy weapons out of cities and towns.

Vitaly Churkin, Russian ambassador, told reporters Moscow would vote "yes" despite some reservations about the text. Russia has been a staunch Syria backer.

Annan's spokesman said on Friday that a small advance team was standing by to fly to Syria as soon as the resolution was approved.
UN Resolution 2042 approved the first 30 unarmed military monitors, who are expected to to leave within days.

The resolution also calls upon the Syrian government to "implement visibly" all commitments under Annan's peace plan
Russia and China vetoed the last two attempts by the council to pass a resolution on the crisis which the UN says has left well over 9,000 dead.

A new resolution with a full mandate will be required for the full monitoring mission of more than 200 observers.

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