Wednesday, May 16, 2012

UN team in Syria evacuated from tense town

BEIRUT (AP) — A team of international observers was evacuated Wednesday from a tense town in northern Syria a day after their convoy was hit by a roadside bomb, a U.N. spokesman said.

The team's vehicles were struck by the blast Tuesday during a mission in the northern town of Khan Sheikhoun. None of the observers was wounded, but they had to spend the night with rebel forces in the area. Earlier Wednesday, Maj. Gen. Robert Mood, the head of the U.N. team, said he had spoken with the observers in Khan Sheikhoun by telephone and that they "told us that they are happy and safe where they are."

Syria-based U.N. spokesman Hassan Seklawi said U.N. members picked up the team around noon Wednesday.

"They left in one convoy in the direction of Hama," Seklawi said referring to a central city south of Khan Sheikhoun.

Tuesday's attack, which came minutes after witnesses said regime forces gunned down mourners at a funeral procession nearby, dealt a fresh blow to international envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan and the U.N. effort to monitor compliance with a troubled cease-fire agreement.

Activists said the violence continued Wednesday with regime forces opening fire from the outskirts of Khan Sheikhoun. Read More