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Friday, August 17, 2012

Syria: UN Quits Mission Amid Growing Violence

The United Nations has called an end to its doomed observer mission in Syria, as the battle between rebels and government forces in Aleppo continues.

The Security Council has instead backed a new liaison office in Damascus to support UN and Arab League efforts to end the country's 18-month conflict.

The 300 unarmed observers will be replaced with a small group of military advisers and political, human rights and civil affairs experts, under a proposals from UN general secretary Ban Ki-moon.

Security Council president Gerard Araud said it had been agreed that conditions for an extension of the mission - a major drop in violence and the end of the use of heavy weapons - had not been met and that it would end on Sunday.

The mission has been severely limited in its work by the violence in the country, and members have been mainly confined to their hotels since June 15.

"It is clear that both sides have chosen the path of war, open conflict, and the space for political dialogue and cessation of hostilities and mediation is very, very reduced at this point," said deputy UN peacekeeping chief Edmond Mulet. Read More