UN Peacekeeping Chief: Syrian Government, Opposition Groups Must Stop Cease-Fire Violations

Both Syrian government forces and Opposition groups are behind the continued violations of the UN backed truce, says the head of the world body’s peacekeeping operations Herve Ladsous.

Both Syrian government forces and Opposition groups are behind the continued violations of the UN backed truce, says the head of the world body’s peacekeeping operations Herve Ladsous.

“The violations that are observed come from both sides,” Ladsous said in a press conference Tuesday.

Ladsous says observers continue to report the presence of Syrian military armored personnel carriers, Howitzer artillery pieces and other equipment. He says Syrian officials contend the armored personnel carriers have been disarmed but that those claims have yet to be verified.

The UN peacekeeping chief says the mission is still too small to accurately determine the “ratio” of attacks attributed to either sides but expects monitors will be able to provide a fuller assessment once the mission expands in the coming weeks.

“ I think that perhaps now is not the time since we still have a limited number of observers in a limited amount of localities.” he said.” I fully expect this number to increase rapidly over the next two weeks.”

While the UN Security Council approved the deployment of 300 unarmed military observers to Syria for 90 days more than a week ago, UN member states have only so far provided half of the requested personnel.

“We have 150 solid commitments which are already being processed…but we need more from member states, that is clear.”

Only 24 of the peacekeepers committed to the mission are currently in Syria, including members of an initial advance team that deployed April 15.

Syrian officials have repeatedly said they would reserve the right to refuse entry to peacekeepers from countries viewed as hostile to Damascus, a provision that has complicated deployment.

Ladsous said he was aware of at least three instances where visa’s for UN military observers were rejected by Syria officials because the individuals were from countries that participated in the “Friends of Syria” meetings.

Ladsous also said that required training and briefings for peacekeepers would impact the speed of deployment but that he was nevertheless confident the mission could reach its full operational strength by the end of May.

While the mission’s numbers are currently small, Ladsous says observers are already having had an “effective”  impact on the ground.

“Their presence has the potential to change the political dynamics, they help build calm and calm helps with process that Mr. Annan is doing.” he said “The mission has more teams of observers already staying in five locations The capital city Damascus, Homs, Hama, Dar’a and Idlib. In each of these places they reach out to all the parties and they conduct regularly mobile patrols.”

Tags: , , , , ,

About TRNS Washington Desk

View all posts by TRNS Washington Desk
TRNS Washington Desk
News updates from on and around Capitol Hill.

LISTEN: The Weekend Ahead – October 25-27

The Day Ahead Logo

Elections in Tunisia and Brazil, and human rights reviews of Iraq, Iran and Egypt.

LISTEN: The World in 2:00 – October 24, 2014

The World in 2:00 continents logo

Ebola spreads to Mali, the Security Council attempts to strengthen Somalia’s arms embargo and a UN expert on immigration says it’s time for holistic reform.

Issa: CDC Chief Bumbled Ebola Response

Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee were critical of Centers For Disease Control and the Department of Homeland Security.

NYC Mayor: New York City Fully Prepared to Handle Ebola

NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. Photo/The office of Public Advocate for the City of New York

A doctor who recently returned from Guinea was diagnosed with Ebola on Thursday at a New York City hospital.

Brownstein: Reducing Methane Emissions Helps Job Growth, Economy

Expanding the methane mitigation industry will help with job growth and protect the environment, according to the Chief Counsel of the U.S. Climate and Energy Program.

UN in Brief: Calm & Conflict for October 24, 2014

UN Daily Brief Square

UN staff returning from West Africa to ‘self-monitor’ for Ebola, human rights expert says immigration debate ‘toxic’ and Somali cargo inspections are approved.