Just a day after authorising a team of unharmed military observers to ensure that the cessation of violence in Syria has been implemented, the United Nations has expressed concerns over the fresh shelling of Homs which occurred at the weekend.
Speaking at a press conference, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said:
“I am very much concerned about what has happened since yesterday and today. The Syrian Government has been shelling the city of Homs, and as well, we have seen already some casualties and populations killed.”
“I urge again in the strongest possible terms, that this cessation of violence must be kept.”
The shelling casts doubt on whether the six-point plan negotiated by Kofi Annan can be advanced and whether political talks, which were meant to follow the cessation of violence, can go ahead.
After the initial 10 April deadline came and went without troops being withdrawn from populated areas of Syria, and with Assad reserving the right to use weapons against “terrorists”, it seemed unlikely that any part of the peace plan would be adhered to. However, on 12 April a relative peace did fall upon Syria giving at least some hope that there could be an end in sight to the past 13 months of violence.
Peace never does come easy though,and while the recent shelling by no way means that Kofi Annan’s plan is completely dead in the water, many are cynical of its chances of success.
In the meanwhile the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate and it is with this in mind that a Syrian Humanitarian Forum will be held in Geneva on Friday and the international community will be urged to do what it can to help.