Tuesday, April 24, 2012

More Deaths in Syria Despite Ceasefire

The ceasefire brokered by Arab League/UN envoy Kofi Annan has been in effect since the 14th of April but violence and killing continues in Syria.  The BBC reports that more than 100 people have been killed since the ceasefire came into effect, while Syrian activists claim that as many as 70 people lost their lives in clashes yesterday.  The international community as a whole have concerns that President Bashar al-Assad's government is failing to keep to the terms of the ceasefire.

The majority of the violence has taken place in the city of Hama, and the clashes are said to highlight the dangers of the UN mission to Syria – where a small team of 30 observers are currently deployed.  An activist, Mousab al-Hamadi, told the Associated Press that protesters greeted the UN observers on Sunday, chanting "Long live Syria! Down with Assad".  These impromptu demonsrations were dispersed by shelling and sporadic small arms fire from the Syrian military.   

But the violence has been nationwide, more anti-government protest in the city of Deraa were dispersed by government forces with gunfire and teargas.   While in Damascus rebels had gunned down an Army officer and his aid, and car bombs had injured 3 more civilians.  The continuing violence has seen the death toll in the country rise to over 10,000 in the thirteen months of pro-democracy protests.

The UN is hoping to increase the number of peacekeepers within Syria to 300 by next week.  It hoped that the extra troops can help Ahmed Himmiche, the Moroccan head of the UN observers, in his mission to bring clam to Syria, a mission he describes as “difficult”.   Though whether the 300 UN troops can really change the political dynamic within the country is debatably.

It is currently unclear if Annan’s peace plan can improve the situation within Syria, today there has been further reports of violence.  UN political chief B. Lynn Pascoe stated that "human rights violations are still perpetrated with impunity", and both the US and UK are looking beyond Annan’s plan for a solution to the Syrian crisis. The UK warned of "robust" action against Syria if Annan's mission failed. The US, having described the UN monitoring mission as "risky and dangerous", said it would not wait 90 days if the Syria continues to flout the initiative.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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