UN Observers Seek to ´De-Escalate´ Douma Tensions (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Gabe Kahn 04/26/12)
INN} ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS
INN} ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS Articles-Index-Top
UN observers tasked with monitoring a theoretical ceasefire in Syria
returned to Douma on Wednesday to ´de-escalate´ the situation in the
town east of Damascus.
Following the monitors visit to Douma on Monday, forces loyal to
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad backed by tanks reportedly attacked
"In the morning when we first visited Douma, we found that there is a
need to de-escalate the situation there UN observer team spokesman
Neeraj Singh said, at the Damascus hotel where the observers are
based. "This is a part of our role here."
"We are carrying out liaison activities where we are establishing
contact with the parties and doing all the preparatory work on the
ground for the larger mission to come," Singh explained. "In this
process we have a role of de-escalating the situation. We do that --
and we did that yesterday in Douma – by maintaining our presence on
the ground, patrolling the area for a good number of hours, through
our liaison activities."
"So this was the focus of our attention from the team in Damascus
yesterday which went to Douma,” he added.
UN special envoy Kofi Annan - citing reports of another instance, in
Hama, saying Assad´s troops moved in after the observers had
departed, shooting and killing at least 31 people - told the UN
Security Council on Tuesday the situation in Syria was "bleak."
He said, however, that he believed even a small number of observers
could have a large impact in altering the facts on the ground.
There are currently less than 20 monitors in Syria, visiting areas
impacted Assad´s now 14-month long crackdown on a popular uprising
against his autocratic rule which has left at least 9,100 civilians
Assad´s regime has routinely responded to protests with gunfire and
shelled populous neighborhoods it deems to be opposition strongholds
on the pretext of fighting an insurgency by foreign terrorists.
In recent months reports of war crimes including systemic rape,
torture, and mass summary executions by Assad´s forces have become
The Security Council has authorized 300 observers in total. UN
secretary general Ban Ki-moon joined Annan is urging the world body
to speed up their deployment.
Travelling in small teams, the monitors have been filmed by amateur
cameramen in the country, in their blue UN helmets and bullet-proof
vests, meeting rebels and residents of shelled neighborhoods around
However, reports have also begun to circulate that those who approach
the monitors are being targeted by Assad´s forces and ever present
secret police organizations.
Syria´s population is estimated at about 23 million spread over
180,000 sq. kilometers of disparate terrain., raising doubts that
even the full 300-monitor force would be able to oversee a ceasefire.
Making the situation even more difficult is that rebel commanders of
the Free Syria Army have only tentatively accepted the ceasefire, and
lack a central command and communications system.
FSA forces, commanded by dissident senior officers who have taken
refuge in Turkey, are primarily comprised of Syrian Army defectors
who poorly organized and equipped. (IsraelNationalNews © 2012
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY