U.S. Says Syria Violence Threatens U.N. Observer Forceإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
The United States warned Monday that heightened violence in Syria threatens the sending of a full U.N. ceasefire observer mission as it voiced fear that a ceasefire is "eroding."
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said new attacks by government forces "call into question the wisdom and viability" of sending the full 200 international monitors.
The first six unarmed U.N. military observers started work in Damascus on Monday. The UN Security Council has said, however, that the full force cannot go if there is a safety threat.
"We are gravely concerned ... that the violence continues, that the government seems to continue, if not in recent days intensify, bombardment in Homs in particular," Rice told reporters.
The government violence was "unacceptable" and against commitments made to U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, she added.
Should the cessation of hostilities started last Thursday collapse, the United States and the U.N. Security Council believe "it will call into question the wisdom and viability of sending in the full monitoring presence," Rice said.
A U.N. Security Council resolution passed on Saturday approved only an advance mission of 30 observers. The full force will require a new U.N. resolution.
Syrian forces shelled the flashpoint city of Homs on Monday and killed 12 civilians in battles with rebels in Idlib, activists said.
Asked about the violence, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said that "the news has not been good" out of Syria.
Toner pressed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to comply with other items in Annan's six-point plan, including releasing prisoners.
"There's no movement on any of the other five points and it appears that the fragile ceasefire is eroding as well," Toner told reporters in Washington.
Toner said that the United States would maintain "non-lethal" support to Syria's opposition, including providing telecommunications equipment, regardless of actions by Assad.
"What we're trying to do is help the peaceful opposition coalesce, to be able to communicate and coordinate themselves," Toner said. "If they were looking down the road at some kind of democratic transition, that would be useful."
A U.S. official said last week that President Barack Obama had approved a package of aid to Syria's opposition including communications equipment and medicine.