Syrian Army Attacks UN Mission Chief's Convoy
The convoy of Lieutenant-General Babacar Gaye, head of the United Nations observer mission in Syria, was attacked by government forces over the weekend.
Only the vehicles' armor protected them from injury, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement on Monday.
"Yesterday the convoy of General Gaye was attacked by army tanks,” Ban told reporters in New York. "It's quite fortunate that nobody got injured by these attacks,” he commented.
The attack occurred in Talibisa, some 17 kilometers (10.5 miles) from the central city of Homs, according to U.N. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.
More than a dozen armored vehicles used by the observers have been destroyed by government shelling and explosions, Ban said.
The U.N. mission's 90-day mandate, which was set to expire in August, was extended on July 20 for 30 more days. But the mission has been largely suspended due to the impossibility of monitoring in the current dangerous conditions. At best, observers carry out limited activities.
Ban again called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to “fully cooperate with the U.N. Mission and... cease these violent measures...This is an unacceptable situation. Every day, more than 100 people are being killed.”
Ban also warned Syria against using its chemical weapons – something the Assad regime has threatened to do, if it feels the international community might intervene in its “internal affairs.”