The head of the UN observer mission in Syria, Gen. Robert Mood, announced Saturday that it was temporarily suspending operations and patrols due to escalating violence on the ground that poses “significant risks” to his 300-member team.
The suspension will be reviewed on a daily basis.
“There has been an intensification of armed violence across Syria over the past 10 days,” Mood said in a statement Saturday. “This escalation is limiting our ability to observe, verify, report as well as assist in local dialogue and stability projects – basically impeding our ability to carry out our mandate.”
“The lack of willingness by the Parties to seek a peaceful transition, and the push towards advancing military positions is increasing the losses on both sides: innocent civilians, men women and children are being killed every day,” he said. “It is also posing significant risks to our observers.”
“In this high risk situation, UNSMIS is suspending its activities,” he said. “UN observers will not be conducting patrols and will stay in their locations until further notice. Engagement with the Parties will be restricted.”
“This suspension will be reviewed on a daily basis,” Mood said. “Operations will resume when we see the situation fit for us to carry out our mandated activities.”
Mood on Friday said the mission was close to failure.