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UN Security Council authorizes team of observers to monitor Syria ceasefire

The UN Security Council has unanimously passed a resolution authorizing the deployment of an advance team of international monitors to Syria to oversee a fragile, two-day-old ceasefire there.

syria cease-fire 2012 14 13Enlarge
Syrian shoppers walk in front of posters for parliamentary candidates in Damascus on April 12, 2012, as a UN-backed ceasefire went into effect. (LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/Getty Images)

The UN Security Council has passed a resolution authorizing an advance team of international monitors to travel to Syria to oversee a fragile, two-day-old ceasefire in the country.

The Western-Arab resolution – a revised draft of which was circulated on Friday to accommodate Russian concerns over the text – passed unanimously on Saturday. According to the BBC, a small group of around 30 observers may be deployed within hours.

Russia had wielded its veto when two previous resolutions on Syria were proposed. Additional Security Council approval will be required to swell the observer mission’s ranks to 250, the total number sought by international peace envoy Kofi Annan.

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The resolution’s passage comes as the UN-backed ceasefire in Syria – which came into effect on Thursday and is aimed at halting hostilities between government forces and opponents of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad – looks to be in danger of collapsing in some parts of the country.

Activists said Saturday that security forces killed four civilians in the city of Aleppo after opening fire on the funeral procession of an anti-regime activist, the Agence France Presse reports.

Yesterday four protesters were shot dead around the country in small demonstrations against the government after Friday prayers, according to Reuters.

The Security Council has threatened to consider “further steps” should the ceasefire not be observed, while Russia has reportedly called on all parties to the conflict to “strictly” observe Annan’s six-point peace plan, after government forces shelled the beleaguered city of Homs overnight, killing 17, according to Sky News

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/120414/un-security-council-authorizes-team-observers-monitor-syria