In a UN Security Council meeting held Tuesday to discuss the deteriorating situation in Syria, the chief of the UN observer mission, Maj. General Robert Mood, announced that the mission shall stick to its responsibilities in overseeing the implementation of Anan’s six-point ceasefire agreement, adding that they are not “abandoning Syria”.
The statement came after General Mood suspended the UN observer mission Saturday. General Mood confirmed that the mission has been subjected to at least 10 gunfire incidents, with nine trucks struck by live ammunition in the last week alone.
Commenting on the latest developments, UN Under-secretary General for Peacekeeping Missions, Herve Ladsous, told reporters that “for the time being, we have decided not to touch, not to modify” the observer mission. The situation in Syria has been receiving attention in the G20 summit as well, where US President Barack Obama addressed the issue at the end of the summit. Obama met separately with Russian and Chinese heads of state during the G20, yet no new initiatives resulted from these talks. Both China and Russia vetoed Security Council resolutions against the Syrian government.
Reports have been circulating during the last week about a Russian weapons shipment to Syria. A British marine insurance company, Standard Club, released a statement Tuesday where it said it had withdrawn insurance from a Russian ship travelling to Syria, fearing the ship was delivering arms to the Arab country.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague later told the House of Commons that the aforementioned ship was heading back home. Citing an EU arms-embargo on Syria, Hague elucidated this action.
Reuters cited the US Pentagon stating the Russian military is sending three ships to Syria, said by Russia to be supply ships for its marine personnel in the port of Tartus. It is important to note that Russia has a lucrative arms trade with Syria.
On Wednesday, unverified reports of clashes between rebels and Syrian army soldiers were reported in the Latakia, the nothern province of the Jabal Al-Akrad region near the Syrian- Turkish border. At least 20 soldiers were believed to have been killed in the clashes. UN observers earlier stated having been denied access to several areas of Latakia.
The Syrian uprising- which has been going on for nearly 18 months- has left more than 10,000 people dead, according to UN estimates, while Syrian opposition is putting the death-toll estimate at over 13,000.