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Daily Israel Report

Mood: UN Observers Can’t Stop Syria Violence

The head of the UN observer force in Syria says no number of observers can stop the violence rocking the country; calls for talks.
By Gabe Kahn
First Publish: 5/18/2012, 1:22 PM

Robert Mood
Robert Mood
Reuters

The commander of the UN observer team in Syria said, on Friday, no number of observers would be able to achieve an end to violence.

Norwegian team leader Maj. Gen. Robert Mood told reporters that only dialogue could lead to a cessation of 14-months of violence.

Speaking at a news conference in Damascus, Mood called for an immediate implementation of the UN-brokered ceasefire that was to go into effect in April.

Only then, he said, could the observer force aid in building trust between the parties as they pursue a peaceful resolution.

More than 200 observers of Mood's planned 300 strong observer force are currently deployed in various towns and cities around Syria to monitor a theoretical ceasefire.

The cease-fire was to be the first step in a six-point plan brokered by UN envoy Kofi Annan, but violations are reported by both sides every day.

Earlier this week, a group of UN observers came under fire when forces loyal to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad opened fire on a funeral procession.

They were reportedly hidden by members of the rebel Syrian Free Army overnight until they could be recovered by Mood's command group.

Previously, a convoy in which Mood was travelling was targeted by a roadside bomb. He was unhurt, but ten security personnel accompanying him were wounded.

Reports of war crimes by Assad's forces – including the systemic kidnapping, rape, torture, and mass summary execution of dissidents and rebels – have become commonplace.

UN Human Rights officials, who say there is ample evidence to try Assad for war crimes, maintain at least 9,100 people have been killed in the regime’s brutal crackdown on Syria's Arab Spring uprising.

However, officials also say they stopped counting the dead months ago due to the pervasive chaos in the country.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 12,000 have been killed, most of them civilians – at least 900 since the April ceasefire deadline passed.