Chief of UN Observers Leaves Syria

Posted August 25th, 2012 at 6:35 am (UTC-5)
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The head of a now-defunct team of United Nations observers in Syria has left Damascus.

General Babacar Gaye left Damascus Saturday.

The observers had been deployed to Syria as part of former U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan's six-point plan to supervise a truce that never took place. The mission officially ended last Sunday.

The U.N. will instead maintain a political liaison office in Damascus to support the mediation efforts of Mr. Annan's successor, veteran Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahmimi.

On Friday, Syrian forces shelled targets in Damascus suburbs in a bid to oust rebels, while anti-government protests erupted in several other cities.

The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says approximately 140 people were killed Friday in anti-government unrest, most of them unarmed civilians.

President Bashar al-Assad's government has said it views the rebels as foreign-aided terrorists who are trying to destabilize the country.