NPR : News

Filed Under:

As Violence Escalates, U.N. Suspends Monitoring In Syria

The U.N. said Saturday it was suspending its monitoring operations in Syria because of an "intensification of armed violence" over the past 10 days.

"Innocent civilians — men, women and children — are being killed everyday," Gen. Robert Mood, head of the U.N. Supervision Mission in Syria, said. "[The violence] also poses a significant risk to my unarmed observers."

Mood said observers would not be conducting patrols and stay in their locations until further notice. He said the decision would be reviewed on a daily basis and that the monitoring could resume if conditions improve.

NPR's Deborah Amos has been in Syria and has traveled with the monitors in recent days. They have had difficulty reaching some sites and have come under fire in a couple of instances.

The monitors have been in Syria since April and have been going to cities and towns where deadly clashes are taking place between rebels and the forces of President Bashar Assad.

However, the violence has not abated in the conflict that began in March of last year.

"This escalation is limiting our ability to observe, verify, report as well as assist in local dialogue," Mood said.

The former U.N secretary general, Kofi Annan, has been attempting to broker peace between the government and the rebels. But the plan has not been making any headway, and Saturday's announcement deals another blow to his efforts.

Update at 12:37 p.m. ET. U.S. Consulting With Partners:

National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said the U.S. was now consulting with allies about "next steps toward a Syrian-led political transition," The Associated Press reported. "The sooner this transition takes place, the greater the chance of averting a lengthy and bloody sectarian civil war," he said.

Update at 9:25 a.m. ET. Army Offensive Continues:

The rebels have been making gains this month, and the Syrian army has responded with stepped up attacks that have included helicopter assaults and heavy shelling, NPR's Deborah Amos told Weekend Edition.

"The army has unleashed this blistering offensive," Amos said. "Overnight, the military offensive against the rebels has continued."

The U.N. blames both sides for the continued fighting and says neither has shown any real signs of observing a ceasefire, she noted.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

In Pakistan, Literary Spring Is Both Renaissance And Resistance

For the past decade Pakistan has faced war, political instability and the rise of religious extremism. But those crises have fueled a new generation of Pakistani writers and artists.
NPR

Behold Ukrainian Easter Art: Incredible, Inedible Eggs

Even 2,000 years ago, people seemed to know that the egg could be a source of life. And an ancient art form has been passed down, transforming a symbolic source of food into a dazzling decoration.
NPR

Obama's Tax Rate Rose — And He Can't Blame Anyone But Himself

President Obama, like many wealthy Americans, is paying more of his income to the IRS. He and the first lady paid $98,169 in taxes for 2013 on income of $481,098.
NPR

Between Heartbleed And Homeland, NSA Treads Cybersecurity Gray Area

Amid controversy over the Heartbleed security bug, the White House clarified how U.S. intelligence agencies must handle such bugs. Bloomberg Businessweek cybersecurity reporter Michael Riley explains.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.