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The United Nations suspended its monitoring mission in Syria Saturday, saying that escalating violence is threatening the lives of observers and preventing them from fulfilling their goals. It marks the clearest sign yet that the peace plan designed by special envoy Kofi Annan is close to collapsing, reports Reuters.
“There has been an intensification of armed violence across Syria over the past 10 days,” Maj. Gen. Robert Mood, the head of the monitoring mission, said, adding that more people are being killed “on both sides.” The 300 unarmed observers will remain in the country and the suspension would be reviewed daily so that the monitors can resume their mission “when we see the situation fit for us to carry out our mandated activities.”
Considering that both armed rebels and government forces are increasing violence, “the prospects that conditions will improve soon appeared remote,” notes the Washington Post. That now increases pressure on world powers to come up with a new strategy to deal with the rising violence in Syria. Despite its evident lack of effectiveness, Western powers have been backing Annan’s peace plan largely because “there are no other options on the table,” points out the Associated Press.
Syrian opposition politicians in Turkey were not surprised by the news, saying the move was expected considering how the observers had recently been the target of violence, reports Al Jazeera.