20 Jun 2012

Observers in Syria shot at: UN chief

9:56 pm on 20 June 2012

The head of the United Nations observer mission in Syria has told the Security Council his observers were targeted by hostile crowds and gunfire before his decision to suspend operations.

Major General Robert Mood says his 300 unarmed monitors had had at least 10 direct fire incidents and nine vehicles were struck in the last week.

But he says his move does not mean the mission is abandoning the Syrian people.

His comments come as government troops reportedly shelled several towns.

Meanwhile, the Russian defence ministry has denied reports that a second ship was preparing for a trip to Syria.

This follows the withdrawal of insurance from a Russian ship, the Alaed, because of the possibility it was carrying weapons to Syria.