U.N. Security Council approves 300 observers for Syria
BEIRUT -- The United Nations Security Council unanimously approved a resolution Saturday to send 300 observers to Syria to observe what can at best be called a fragile cease-fire.
The resolution expands the observer mission from the 30 monitors approved a week ago. Thus far, however, only seven monitors have arrived in Syria. Two more are expected Monday.
In its decision Saturday, the Security Council also demanded an immediate end to the violence that has continued since the cease-fire went into effect more than a week ago.
The resolution gives U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon the authority to deploy the observers, a decision that will be based on the situation on the ground.
Ahmad Fawzi, spokesman for U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan, said it could take weeks for the full mission to deploy.
One issue that has not been resolved is the matter of air transportation and who might provide it.
For more than a week, world leaders, including Ban, have accused President Bashar Assad of failing to abide by the cease-fire, as his forces have continued to fire on protesters, raid neighborhoods and make sweeping arrests and shell cities.
The battered central city of Homs had been shelled for days, but activists said the bombardment stopped Saturday as the U.N. monitors toured certain neighborhoods.
-- Times staff
Photo: A photo distributed Wednesday shows a group of U.N. observers touring the restive districts of Eribin and Zamalka in the suburbs of Damascus. Credit: Syrian Arab News Agency / EPA