UN observers visit Homs to monitor shaky Syria truce
Published: 21st Apr 2012 14:28:20
UN monitors in Syria have visited the battered city of Homs amid a rare lull in fighting between troops and rebels.
The observers met the governor and saw parts of the city, a UN spokesman said.
Activists say the violence stopped for the first time in weeks just to make it look as though the Syrian government is observing a UN-backed truce, and that fighting will resume soon.
The visit came ahead of a Security Council vote on boosting the number of UN observers in Syria to 300.
The draft resolution would see military observers and civilian experts initially deployed for three months.
A handful of monitors are already in Syria to monitor the fragile ceasefire brokered by international envoy Kofi Annan.
Homs has been a leading focus of unrest in the 13-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
"A team of observers have been sent to Homs and met the governor," UN spokesman Khaled al-Masri said on Saturday.
But rebels said tanks had been only temporarily hidden out of sight and shelling would resume as soon as the observers left.
"It is very clear that the Syrian government can stop the violence whenever it wants at anytime in the country," Homs opposition activist Walid al-Fares told Reuters news agency.
1. Syrian-led political process to address the aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people
2. UN-supervised cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties to protect civilians
3. All parties to ensure provision of humanitarian assistance to all areas affected by the fighting, and implement a daily two-hour humanitarian pause
4. Authorities to intensify the pace and scale of release of arbitrarily detained persons
5. Authorities to ensure freedom of movement throughout the country for journalists
6. Authorities to respect freedom of association and the right to demonstrate peacefully
Although overall violence has fallen since the truce was signed by the UN and Syria on Thursday, many violations have been reported by activists and journalists on the ground.
According to Reuters news agency, at least 23 people were killed on Friday, 10 of them in a roadside bomb targeting security forces and most of the others in army shelling on the city of Homs.
The Damascus authorities say they are fighting armed terrorist groups and that the ceasefire allows them to respond to attacks.
The UN estimates that government forces have killed more than 9,000 people in the uprising. Syria says foreign-backed militants have killed more than 2,600 soldiers and police.
On Friday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had called for a global arms embargo and further sanctions if the government continues to break the ceasefire.
The international community has also been looking at ways of getting humanitarian aid to Syria, with diplomats meeting in Geneva on Friday to discuss the situation.
They agreed to a draft plan to provide $180m (£112m) for food, medicine and other supplies to about one million people inside Syria. That comes on top of the aid that is being delivered to refugees who have fled to neighbouring countries.
The plan still needs Syria's approval, with the key issue being the number of aid workers allowed into the country.
Foreign ministers from the Friends of Syria coalition, meeting in Paris on Thursday evening, agreed that the ceasefire and Mr Annan's peace plan were the "last hope" of avoiding civil war in Syria.
The Friends of Syria group includes Western and Arab nations, but not Russia or China, who have blocked previous attempts to introduce UN sanctions.
At 02:38:19 in BusinessFour of the biggest technology firms - Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe - have settled a class action lawsuit alleging they conspired to hold down salaries.
At 02:35:23 in EnglandTwo hundred staff are to be recruited at the police watchdog's new offices in Birmingham to allow it to take on extra investigations.
At 02:29:38 in PoliticsAlmost two-thirds of the UK's members of Parliament are "local" to the area they represent, research by a political think tank suggests.
At 02:27:43 in PoliticsForeign prisoners are not being deported quickly enough to help cut costs and relieve overcrowding, a group of MPs has warned.
At 01:49:24 in WorldFrom the moment it was founded in 2007, the Pakistani Taliban have proved to be a formidable force.
At 01:35:45 in HealthA new online map of England and Wales allows people to enter their postcode and find their community's risk of developing 14 conditions, such as heart disease and lung cancer.
At 01:20:23 in EnglandThe mother of a teenager who was killed in Syria has paid tribute to "a naive, brave boy".
At 01:15:41 in HeadlinesInfo
At 01:13:43 in EnglandA £7m boost to support Bristol as European Green Capital 2015 has been announced by the government.
At 01:13:38 in HeadlinesAs the royal tour draws to a close, there's no doubt Prince George stole the limelight. But what has the young family's visit revealed about Australia and New Zealand's attitudes to the monarchy?
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. UN observers visit Homs to monitor shaky Syria truce [Online] (Updated 21st Apr 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1423788/UN-observers-visit-Homs-to-monitor-shaky-Syria-truce [Accessed 25th Apr 2014]
News In Other Categories
Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone made his first appearance in a Munich court on Thursday, accused of giving a £27.5m ($45m, 33m euros) bribe to a German banker.
Ten candidates will be vying for three European parliament seats in Northern Ireland, it has been confirmed.
A village museum in East Sussex will go up against Tate Britain and the new £35m Mary Rose Museum in a contest to be named the UK's museum of the year.
This year is an important one for the Lamont household.
A new online map of England and Wales allows people to enter their postcode and find their community's risk of developing 14 conditions, such as heart disease and lung cancer.