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Members of a UN monitors team, tasked with monitoring the UN-backed ceasefire in Syria. — AFP file photo

DAMASCUS: Syria's opposition has urged the United Nations to send armed peacekeepers into the country after UN monitors suspended their operations because of raging violence.

The exiled Syrian National Council, the country's main opposition group, in a statement issued overnight called on the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution under Chapter VII of the UN Charter to arm the observers.

“At a time when the regime is committing its worst crimes against the Syrian people, we are surprised by the UN observers' decision to suspend their work, because of what they described as 'an intensification' of violence,” the SNC said in a statement obtained by AFP.

The United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) halted its operations two months into its three-month mandate on Saturday, blaming intensifying violence.

The observers have been targeted almost daily since deploying in mid-April to monitor a UN-backed but widely flouted ceasefire, and were even likened to “sitting ducks in a shooting gallery” by Susan Rice, the US envoy to the United Nations.

The SNC statement said the UN monitors had failed “to pinpoint the source or type of violence in question.”

Suspending the mission, it added, “serves the criminal regime's interests, and denies the Syrian people the little protection they had.”

The SNC reiterated its calls for the Security Council to “intervene quickly, and to pass a resolution under Chapter VII (of the UN Charter) to arm the UN monitors, so that they can defend themselves... and ensure that the regime stops killing, while enforcing (UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan's) peace plan.”


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