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UN mission visits Homs, Hama amid violence

05-04-2012 08:02 BJT Special Report:Crisis in Syria |

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A team of UN observers, headed by Norwegian Major General Robert Mood, have visited the central Syrian cities of Homs and Hama. Their arrival came amid continuing violence across the country.

In Hama, Mood and his team visited some of the violent flashpoints in the city and spoke with local residents. They also went to a school occupied by Syrian forces and met army troops there. The team then went to the restive city of Homs, where Mood held talks with its Governor before visiting the neighbourhood of Baba Amr, which has been at the centre of much of the fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces.

In this picture taken during a UN observer-organized tour, the head of the advance
team of UN observers, Maj. Gen. Robert Mood, center left, shakes hands with a Syrian
security officer during their visit to Hama city, central Syria, on Thursday, May 3,

Speaking to Sky News on Thursday, Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal Mekdad said that the government had not committed any violations of the ceasefire, and it was rebel fighters that were the cause of the violence.

Fayssal Mekdad said, "If, I mean the armed groups, the terrorist groups, are shooting at me, I have to defend myself. And this right is enshrined in the UN charter, in international law."

On Thursday, Syrian forces stormed student dormitories during an anti-government protest at Aleppo University, firing tear gas and bullets in an hour-long siege that, according to activists, killed at least four students and forced the closure of the state-run school. Residents have told the observers of being too terrified to walk on the streets.

However, in a news conference in Homs, Major General Mood said that he believed there was still a good chance to break the cycle of violence.

Robert Mood said, "I call on all the parties to stop the violence. The point is the violence, to stop the violence. And everyone who believes that violence is the solution, they are simply not right. Violence produces more violence."

The continuing violence has tarnished efforts by UN observers to salvage the truce that was brokered by Kofi Annan but which started to unravel almost as soon as it was supposed to begin on April 12. Both sides have blamed each other for thwarting the truce.

The UN estimates nine-thousand people have been killed since the revolt began, and the peace plan has done little to stem the violence between Syrian rebel groups and government forces.

In this picture taken during a UN observer-organized tour, UN observers don body
armor upon their arrival in Hama city, central Syria, on Thursday May 3, 2012.

In this picture taken during a UN observer-organized media tour, a Syrian boy talks
with UN observers during their visit to Hama city, central Syria, on Thursday May 3,

Norwegian Major General Robert Mood (C), head of the U.N. Supervision Mission in
Syria, talks with his team as a Syrian security member (L) stands nearby, during the
United Nations observers' visit to Hama city May 3, 2012.


Editor:Zhang Rui |Source: CNTV.CN

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