DHAKA: The head of the UN Stabilisation Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) says the mission has been suspended because of escalating violence.
Norwegian Gen Robert Mood said the observers would cease patrols and stay in their current locations.
But he said the mission remained committed to ending the violence, reports BBC.
The announcement comes a day after Gen Mood warned that the escalation in violence was limiting the observers` ability to do their work.
The BBC says the statement is a recognition that international envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan has hit the rocks, and greatly increases the pressure on international diplomacy to salvage it.
Earlier, activists said troops had been shelling parts of Homs and Damascus.
At least seven people were killed overnight in Douma, an eastern suburb of the capital, while at least 18 others died in violence elsewhere, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
The Observatory also warned of civilians trapped by fighting in Homs who needed medical care - dozens needed to be evacuated.
In a statement announcing the suspension of UNSMIS operations, Gen Mood said, ‘The observers will not be conducting patrols and will stay in their locations until further notice.’
‘This suspension will be reviewed on a daily basis. Operations will resume when we see the situation fit for us to carry out our mandated activities’, he said, adding that a ‘return to normal operations remains our objective’.
Gen Mood said that violence had intensified in the last 10 days.
BDST: 1937 HRS, JUN 16, 2012
Edited by Robab Rosan, Cultural Affairs Editor
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