The former chief of the main opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) on Saturday urged the United Nations to deploy peacekeepers after U.N. observers suspended their mission in the country.
"We have to send U.N. peacekeepers to Syria on a mission with more people who would be able to protect themselves from the violence of the regime," said Burhan Ghalioun, ex-leader and current political bureau chief of the SNC.
"Today, it is clear that one cannot rely on unarmed observers," he said, referring to the decision of U.N. observers to suspend their mission in Syria, blaming intensifying violence that risks civilians lives, as well we theirs.
Ghalioun's call came after a two-day meeting of the major Syrian opposition factions, which are looking to strike unity and outline a roadmap to follow in the aftermath of President Bashar Assad's regime.
The suspension of the U.N. observer mission was, Ghalioun said, "a clear condemnation by the international community and the Annan mission of the violent and aggressive policy of the Syrian regime."
But he noted that the special envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan could still work if the U.N. Security Council votes "a resolution under Chapter 7 to force the implementation of the plan by the threat of force."
Chapter 7 of the U.N. charter on "action with respect to threats to the peace, breaches of the peace, and acts of aggression" grants U.N. the power to resort to military force to restore and maintain peace.
The Syrian opposition also warned of a looming massacre in the central city of Homs, which it said is besieged by 30,000 troops and pro-regime militiamen.
"Regime forces are escalating their shelling of the city of Homs in an unprecedented way," said the Syrian National Council, adding troops were "getting ready to carry out a savage attack that might massacre the city's remaining residents."
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