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Russia urges UN observers to stay in Syria

08-15-2012 19:07 BJT Special Report:Crisis in Syria |

MOSCOW, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Moscow believed the UN observers in Syria should continue their work there, as a withdrawal of the mission would cause "extremely negative consequences," the Russian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

The format of the mission could be changed, but it shouldn't be fully curtailed, as the UN presence in Syria served as an important source of first-hand information in the conflict-torn country, the ministry's information department told the Interfax news agency.

"We support an extension of the UN observer mission's mandate in Syria. Its format may be modified to fit the current situation in the country," said the ministry.

The UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) was extended for a final 30-day mandate in July. Shrinking the 300-observer mission into half was part of the extended mandate.

The UN Security Council will held consultations this week on the mission's extension, which is due to expire again on Aug. 20.

Russia admitted the Security Council members take different stances on this issue. "The final decision will depend on whether the UN Security Council members manage to reach a consensus on the extension," the Foreign Ministry said.

Gen. Babacar Gaye, head of UNSMIS said Monday that the heavy clashes between the government forces and the opposition were inflicting heavy losses on innocent civilians.

He said the observers' patrols were monitoring the impact of the violence and visiting internal displaced people and hospitals.

Concerning the future of UNSMIS, Gaye said the mission will continue to the last minute of their mandate to urge the parties to move from confrontation to dialogue.

A source told Xinhua that a total of 21 UN observers left Syria this Monday, adding Gaye took the decision after consultations with the Security Council. The source, who asked not to be named, said the number of observers leaving Syria will hit 42 by the end of the week.

Last Tuesday, a UNSMIS spokesperson said the mission had temporarily relocated their teams from restive Aleppo due to the security deterioration in the northern city.



Editor:Zhang Dan |Source: Xinhua

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