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Syria: Ban Ki-moon says cessation of violence 'clearly incomplete'

United Nations head Ban Ki-moon called for an expansion of the observer mission in Syria to 300 people.

syria united nations monitors damascus bashar al assadEnlarge
Moroccan advance team leader Colonel Ahmed Himmiche, a member of a UN monitors team tasked with monitoring the UN-backed ceasefire in Syria, speaks to the press in Damascus on April 19, 2012. UN chief Ban Ki-moon has called for an expanded UN ceasefire observation mission to be sent to Syria even though he says President Bashar al-Assad has failed to end the violence there (Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images)

BEIRUT, Lebanon — United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon has upped the proposed observer force to Syria to 300 from 250, and the Chinese Foreign Ministry today said it was "seriously considering the issue of sending people" to monitor the Syria cease-fire, according to the Associated Press

The BBC wrote that the world body and Syria today agreed on rules for the additional observers. Ahmed Fawzi, spokesman for Arab League-UN envoy Kofi Annan, said, "the hard part lies ahead."

An advance team of UN observers is in Syria to lay the groundwork for a larger mission, but a week-old "cease-fire" has been battered by reports of violence by regime and rebel forces. 

"Tanks, troops and widely feared plainclothes security agents continue to patrol the streets to deter anti-regime protests," the AP wrote.

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The AP wrote yesterday that gunshots were heard when the UN advance team was touring through the Arbaeen neighborhood of Damascus. Ahmed Fawzi called these unconfirmed reports "appalling." 

Meanwhile, the Russian government decried a meeting today in Paris of the foreign ministers of countries in the loose anti-Assad alliance known as "Friends of Syria," which the foreign ministry called "destructive" and "one-sided," according to Reuters.

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In a further sign of Syria's growing diplomatic isolation, British officials warned that the country could be banned from participating in this summer's Olympic Games in London. General Mowaffak Journaa, Syria's Olympics chief, told the AP, "Once I am blacklisted, it would be an honor for me to be one of the citizens who were banned from entering Britain because of their country's dignity and freedom."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/120419/syria-ban-ki-moon-says-syria-cessation-violence-clearly-inc