UN Peacekeeping Chief: Syria Too Dangerous for Monitors

Posted June 26th, 2012 at 12:40 pm (UTC-5)
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The U.N. peacekeeping chief says the situation in Syria is too dangerous for U.N. monitors to resume their work there.

Diplomats at Tuesday's U.N. Security Council briefing say Herve Ladsous told the council that the observer mission will remain suspended in Syria because of the mounting conflict. He added that the Syrian government also refuses to allow observers to use satellite telephones, which he called “key tools” to the operation.

It is unclear how long the suspension will last.

The head of the U.N. observer mission in Syria, Major General Robert Mood, suspended operations on June 16 due to safety risks to the 300 observers in the country. The U.N. has said attackers have targeted the observer team several times in the last few weeks with gunfire and bombs.

Meanwhile, the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told VOA by phone that clashes and shelling across the country killed 38 people Tuesday, including 21 government troops, two defectors and 15 civilians and rebels.

Rami Abdelrahman reported violence in the cities of Daraa, Homs, Aleppo, and Deir Ezzor, as well as in Hama and Idlib provinces. He also says the army used artillery during clashes with rebels in Damascus suburbs that house many families of army officers.

The Britain-based Observatory has a network of contacts in Syria including rebels, activists and state security members. The group tells VOA the 15-month conflict has killed more than 15,000 people.