17 Jun 2012

UN monitors suspend operations in Syria

2:40 pm on 17 June 2012

United Nations monitors in Syria have suspended operations because of increasing violence over the past 10 days.

The announcement was made by the head of the UN observer mission, Major General Robert Mood, who said the observers would not be conducting patrols and would stay in their locations until further notice.

General Mood on Saturday said the intensification in violence was impeding the 300 unarmed UN monitors from carrying out their mandate to observe a ceasefire that took effect on 12 April.

"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," he said.

The ceasefire brokered by UN/Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan has so far failed to halt fighting.

On Friday, General Mood warned that the escalation in violence was limiting the observers' ability to do their work.