UN Halts Syrian Mission, US Considers ‘next steps’
The White House is now consulting with international partners on the Syrian crisis after the suspension of U.N. operations in response to escalating violence that hampered a ceasefire deal.
Reuters quoted White House spokesman Tommy Vietor stating that the U.S. is weighing its “next steps” with partners on the situation in Syria. “We call again on the Syrian regime to uphold its commitments under the Annan plan, including the full implementation of a ceasefire,” Vietor told media. Officials have become quite skeptical about Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s intentions to comply with mediator Kofi Annan’s brokered ceasefire plan.
Major General Robert Mood, head of the U.N. mission to Syria, said that a resumption of shelling by government and opposition forces in Syria put U.N. monitors at risk and prevented them from carrying out their mandate, according to the Guardian.
Mood states that operations would stop “until further notice.”
Diplomats say Mood is expected to brief the U.N. Security Council on Monday or Tuesday about the unrest in Syria, while President Barack Obama will meet on Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit.
U.N. monitoring teams have been the targets of roadside bombs, reports the VOA News. Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., said the observers were just “one [explosion] away from a disaster.”
The U.N. Security Council must decide whether to renew the mission by July 15, according to the VOA. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called on the Council to take immediate measures and not allow “the extension of this human tragedy.”