mercoledì 9 maggio 2012
U.N. says blast erupts near observers in Syria
09 Maggio 2012
There were no casualties among the observers, but several Syrian soldiers were injured and hospitalized, the U.N. Supervision Mission in Syria said.
"This was a graphic example of what the Syrian people are suffering on a daily basis and underlines the imperative for all forms of violence to stop," Maj. Gen. Robert Mood, head of mission and chief military observer, said in a statement.
The observers headed from Damascus to Daraa under Syrian army escort. The blast took place at a checkpoint.
The explosion comes as government forces intensified attacks across Syria, activists said. It occurred a day after Annan warned that the U.N. observer mission could be the last hope for staving off a full-blown civil war.
The purpose of the observer mission is to monitor the status of the cease-fire and Annan's six-point peace plan.
Pro-government news agency Addounia TV, which had a crew in the convoy, said the blast damaged cars and a state-run Syrian TV photographer was "lightly injured."
"The explosion directly targeted the guards," Addounia TV said.
Sham News, a network of opposition activists who post information and videos on the Internet, said the blast occurred in the Manshiya neighborhood of Daraa when a military Jeep stormed the city and fired shots resulting in injuries. It said opposition Free Syrian Army forces "targeted the car and exploded" the vehicle.
"We deny that any of the people in the car were members of the international (U.N.) mission," Sham News said.
CNN cannot independently verify reports of violence and deaths within Syria as the government has restricted access by most of the international media.
Despite months of international sanctions, diplomacy and pressure on President Bashar al-Assad's regime, world leaders concede an end to the bloodshed may still be far away.
Annan plans to return to Damascus soon to seek adherence to a cease-fire that was supposed to go into effect April 12. He reiterated that the killing must stop immediately.
"There has been some decrease in the military activities, but there are still serious violations in the cessation of violence that was agreed," Annan told reporters after briefing the U.N. Security Council.
The U.N. observer mission now comprises 113 personnel from 38 countries, including 70 military observers and 43 civilian staff members and is mandated to have 300 military observers and additional civilian staffers. It has been operating in Damascus, Homs, Hama, Idlib, Aleppo and Daraa. It is regularly receiving new members and expanding.
"In the next two days, we will cross the 100 mark for military observers in the mission," Mood said.
At least 10 people were killed across Syria on Wednesday, said the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, an opposition network. The deaths occurred in Homs, Hama, Idlib, Deir Ezzor and the Damascus suburbs, the LCC said.
Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said the United States stood behind its position that al-Assad has lost all legitimacy and must step down. If the violence persists, she said, the Obama administration is ready to look at other means to ratchet up pressure on Damascus, including a renewed discussion in the Security Council.
On Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the Syrian situation has become one of the "most serious and gravest concerns of the international community."
"More than 9,000 people have been killed during the last 14 months. This is totally unacceptable and an intolerable situation," Ban said.
The Syrian ambassador to the United Nations again blamed the violence on armed perpetrators that he claimed were supported and financed by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other nations.
"We are still committed toward guaranteeing the maximum success to the mission of Kofi Annan," Bashar Jaafari said at a news conference Tuesday. "But the Syrian government cannot do all the job alone."
He said the international community was hypocritical by not acting against terrorists in Syria as they do against al Qaeda.
Rice said no one could say with certainty that there are no foreign fighters in Syria. But she said that's not the key issue.
"This is substantially a diversion from the main point," Rice said. "The main point is that the government of Syria continues to kill its own people."
Many nations, including Syria's Arab neighbors, have condemned the ongoing violence, which has pitted a minority Alawite-dominated government against a predominantly Sunni uprising.
International leaders have said the Syrian government is targeting dissidents seeking democracy and the ouster of al-Assad, whose family has ruled Syria for 42 years.
The LCC says more than 11,000 people have been killed in 14 months.(da "CNN")