U.N.: Two Observers to Stay in Homsإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Two U.N. observers set up base Sunday in the restive city of Homs a day after an advance team of monitors toured flashpoint areas to assess a shaky truce, a mission spokesman told AFP.
The official, Neeraj Singh, also said other members of the eight-member U.N. team of advance observers mandated to monitor the April 12 ceasefire were pursuing field visits elsewhere in Syria on Sunday.
"Yesterday (Saturday), the U.N. advance team visited Homs where they met with the local authorities and all the parties," said Singh.
"The team drove or walked around the city of Homs and stopped at different locations to talk to the people.
"Following the visit, two U.N. military observers have now been stationed at Homs since yesterday evening."
On Saturday, their visit to Homs included a stop in Baba Amr, a rebel stronghold battered by a month-long army bombardment that killed hundreds, according to monitors, before it was retaken on March 1.
Video uploaded to YouTube showed at least four of them meeting with activists who begged them to stay in the central city. Its authenticity could not immediately be verified.
"Today is the first day since two months, exactly since 5 February... in Homs without shelling... without killing, without fire," one unidentified activist said in the footage.
"Because of that, we want you to stay. Please stay. This is what we want. When you come, shelling stops. When you come, killing stops," he told the observers, who wore blue helmets and bullet-proof vests marked " U.N.”
The visit came as an activist in Homs said the situation in the city was calm.
Singh said the number of observers in the advance team stands at eight, adding however that "we are expecting at least two more military observers to arrive on Monday."
On Saturday, the United Nations Security Council unanimously voted to dispatch 300 unarmed observers to monitor the truce in Syria where thousands have been killed in more than a year of violence.
"Today (Sunday), the advance team is continuing its field visit and further updates will be provided when available," Singh said.
Under U.N. Resolution 2043, the 300 military observers will be sent to Syria for an initial period of 90 days if U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon determines it is safe for them to go.
The U.N. says well over 9,000 Syrians have been killed since democracy protests erupted in March 2011, while monitors put the death toll at more than 11,000.