Syria observers call on all sides to end violence
The wreckage of a tank is seen in Homs on April 28 in this photo. A vessel (inset) docked at Beirut after the Lebanese Navy reportedly intercepted three containers of arms. AFP photosThe head of the U.N. observer mission in Syria, called on all sides to “stop the violence” upon his arrival in Damascus yesteday as rebels held reportedly first seaborne assault on a military unit in Latakia.
“To achieve the success of the [international envoy to Syria] Kofi Annan plan, I call on all sides to stop violence and help us continue the cessation of armed violence,” Major General Robert Mood told reporters. Mood, a 54-year-old Norwegian, negotiated with Syrian authorities the conditions for the deployment of an advance team.
Also U.N. observers on the ground said early yesterday said that it was “extremely important” that there is “full cessation of violence in all its forms by all the parties.” “As you see, apart from Damascus, we have permanently based observers in Homs, Hama, Daraa and Idlib,” said mission spokesman Neeraj Singh. “All efforts are in place to make sure that we get the people on the ground as quickly as possible.” On the ground, at least eight more people were killed in violence in Homs and Hama yesterday, including four soldiers who died in a bomb blast in the northern province of Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
On April 28, violence across Syria left at least 32 dead, including 22 civilians killed by government forces. Gunmen in inflatable dinghies attacked a military unit on Syria’s Mediterranean coast, state media said on April 28. The official SANA news agency said several gunmen and soldiers died in the battle that followed the coastal attack near the northern port of Latakia, 35 km south of the Turkish border. Two Hungarians kidnapped in Syria are alive and the authorities are working hard to secure their release, a government spokesman said yesterday.
Turkey criticized of ‘provocation’
Lebanese intelligence officers were questioning the crew of a Sierra Leone-flagged vessel yesterday over allegations it was carrying arms to Syrian rebels on a ship originating in Libya. Meanwhile, the Syrian Foreign Ministry on April 28 accused Turkey of provocation with its talk of asking NATO to help protect its border with Syria, saying such action went against the U.N.-backed peace plan.
“Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu continue to make provocative statements aimed at aggravating the situation in Syria and harming bilateral ties,” foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdisi said. Makdisi also accused Erdoğan of hosting armed groups “that do not believe in the political process.”