Head of UN mission appeals for release of civilians trapped in Syria violence

Major-General Robert Mood (centre) in the town of Al-Rastan, Homs province, Syria. UN Photo/N. Singh

17 June 2012 – The chief United Nations observer in Syria has appealed to the parties to enable civilians trapped by the escalating violence to leave conflict zones.

“The parties must reconsider their position and allow women, children, the elderly and the injured to leave conflict zones, without any preconditions and ensure their safety,” General Robert Mood, head of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS), said in a statement issued on Sunday.

“This requires willingness on both sides to respect and protect the human life of the Syrian people,” he added.

Yesterday Gen. Mood announced that UN observers had suspended their monitoring activities owing to an intensification of armed violence across the country in recent days.

He said in today's statement that attempts to extract civilians from the line of fire over the past week in the city of Homs have been unsuccessful.

“I call on the parties to take immediate action to ease the pain of Syrians trapped in the violence and the UN Supervision Mission in Syria stands ready to monitor their release, once the decision is taken by the parties,” he stated.

The Security Council established UNSMIS in April to monitor the cessation of violence in Syria, as well as monitor and support the full implementation of a six-point peace plan put forward by the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League for the Syrian Crisis, Kofi Annan.

The plan calls for an end to violence, access for humanitarian agencies to provide relief to those in need, the release of detainees, the start of inclusive political dialogue that takes into account the aspirations of the Syrian people, and unrestricted access to the country for the international media.

The UN estimates that more than 10,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Syria and tens of thousands displaced since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began some 16 months ago.


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