Following a unanimous decision by the Security Council, the United Nations has approved a resolution which means an observer mission will be sent to Syria. Called the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS), 300 military observers will be on the ground along with “an appropriate civilian component”.
The observers will be unarmed and they will monitor whether or not the peace plan drawn up by Kofi Annan, the Joint Special Envoy of the UN and the League of Arab States for Syria, is being fully implemented and whether the cessation of violence remains in place.
The deadline for the cessation of violence was 12 April. However, reports continue of gun fire, shelling and deaths. The estimated total of deaths since the uprising first began in 2011 is 9-10,000. The conflict has also led to thousands being displaced and left without basic humanitarian supplies.
The six-point peace plan drawn up by Kofi Annan also called for access to be given for humanitarian supplies and for a political dialogue to begin between all parties.
In a UN news release a spokesperson said:
“The Secretary-General calls upon the Government of Syria and other parties swiftly to create the conditions necessary for the deployment of the mission.”
“He stresses the need for the Government of Syria to end all violence and human rights violations, and in particular to stop the use of heavy weapons and to withdraw such weapons and armed units from population centres.”