In a statement made this morning the UN observer mission chief General Major Robert Mood announced that, given the current conditions, he was suspending the UN mission in Syria. The 300 UN representatives are in Syria to monitor a ceasefire that never really materialized. From Al Jazeera English we have this report:
The UN observer mission to Syria has suspended its activities, saying escalating violence is impeding the monitors' ability to carry out its mandate.As of yesterday, Assad was even using his artillery near his strongholds of Aleppo and Damascus, he is increasing his use of helicopter gunships against protesters,as after Friday pray yesterday, and what is now considered a civil war has spilled over to neighboring Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, and there is hardly a corner of Syria that has not been touched by the violence.
"UN observers will not be conducting patrols and will stay in their locations until further notice," the mission's chief General Major Robert Mood said in a statement on Saturday.
About 300 observers were deployed in Syria, tasked with monitoring a ceasefire and supporting the full implementation of a six-point peace plan drafted by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, which was supposed to lead to talks between the two sides.
However, hundreds of people have been killed since the first observers were deployed in April and the mission has been harshly criticised by the opposition.
"The lack of willingness by the parties to seek a peaceful transition, and the push towards advancing military positions is increasing the losses on both sides: innocent civilians, men women and children are being killed every day," Mood's statement said.
"It is also posing significant risks to our observers."
He said intensifying violence in the last 10 days was "limiting our ability to observe, verify, report as well as assist in local dialogue and stability projects".
Mood said the suspension would be reviewed on a daily basis and operations would resume when the situation was fit.
Discussion question for this diary: What's next for Syria?