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UN aims to triple Syria observer team next week

By Frank Jordans / AP GENEVA: The United Nations hopes to have 30 cease-fire monitors in Syria next week and plans are already being made for the deployment of up to 300, a spokesman for international envoy Kofi Annan said Friday, as France called on the international community to prepare for the possible failure of …


Syria bids to reassure UN over shaky truce

By AFP DAMASCUS: Syria sought on Wednesday to reassure the United Nations over its willingness to implement a ceasefire despite violence and casualties still reported in various parts of the country. Foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdisi told AFP a protocol outlining a UN mission to oversee the fragile six-day ceasefire was nearly completed and that …


Shelling in Syria as UN monitors begin mission

By Zeina Karam / AP BEIRUT: An advance team of UN observers was negotiating the ground rules with Syrian authorities Monday for monitoring the country’s 5-day-old cease-fire, which appeared to be rapidly unraveling as regime forces pounded the opposition stronghold of Homs with artillery shells and mortars, activists said. Even though the overall level of violence …


Syrian military on offensive before truce deadline

By Oliver Holmes and Douglas Hamilton / Reuters BEIRUT: Syria has assured the United Nations it will respect a ceasefire with rebels due to take effect in less than 24 hours, peace envoy Kofi Annan said on Wednesday, but President Bashar Al-Assad’s forces kept up attacks in several cities. Western powers have scorned Assad’s pledges, but …


Syria violence endangers Annan’s ceasefire deadline

By Oliver Holmes / Reuters BEIRUT: Syrian troops bombarded two restive cities on Tuesday, pursuing an assault on President Bashar Al-Assad’s foes instead of halting the use of big guns and leaving towns as promised under an international peace plan that now looks in peril. The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported heavy shelling in …


Damascus blasts kill 27 as Syria gears up for monitors

By AFP DAMASCUS: Two huge bomb blasts killed at least 27 people in Syria’s capital on Saturday, as special envoy Kofi Annan warned of regional fallout from the year-long bloodshed. An Arab diplomat told AFP Saudi Arabia has started delivering arms to Syrian rebels through Jordan, a claim denied by Amman, while rival Iran is …


UN sends aid chief to Syria as Obama rejects military force

DAMASCUS: The UN’s humanitarian chief heads for Syria Wednesday to urge the regime to let aid into devastated protest cities, with US President Barack Obama insisting military intervention would be a “mistake”. The five major UN powers discussed on Tuesday new efforts to press for a halt to the violence in Syria, which Obama called …


Groups say agree plan with Arab League on Syrian monitors

CAIRO: The Arab League chief and Arab civil society groups agreed a plan on Monday to create a 500-strong fact-finding team to send to Syria as part of efforts to end a violent crackdown by the authorities against anti-government protests, participants said. The League suspended Syria for failing to stick to a deal that included …


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