07/21/2012, 00.00
SYRIA

UN renews monitoring mission in Syria

Security Council extends Syria observer mission for 30 days. In Damascus, military frees district from rebels who launch attacks in other areas.

Damascus (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The Security Council has unanimously voted to extend the UN monitoring mission in Syria for a further 30 days, a day after a resolution that sought to impose sanctions on President Bashar al-Assad's regime was vetoed by China and Russia.

"We believe that it's the right thing to give that mission a final chance to be able to fulfil its function," British UN Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said. However, without a "cessation of use of heavy weapons" the mission cannot "carry out its mandate," which is what happened in "the last 35 days".

The 300-member United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) is part of the peace plan elaborated by Kofi Annan, UN and Arab League envoy.

The plan called for a ceasefire between Syria's regular forces and rebels starting on 10 April, the delivery of humanitarian aid to areas affected by the fighting, talks between the regime and the opposition, the release of prisoners detained arbitrarily, freedom of movement for journalists, freedom of association and peaceful demonstration.

Meanwhile in Damascus, Syrian troops recaptured Midan district, in the southern part of the city, but rebels attacked other areas of the capital.

Local activists say that tanks, helicopters and fighting have turned Damascus into a "battleground".

Fighting on Thursday left 302 people dead, the worst death toll since the start of the uprising.

 

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