Syria, UN agreement allows observers full roam of country by car and foot
search

Syria, UN agreement allows observers full roam of country by car and foot

Ban Ki-moon: Syria has not fully implemented any of agreement’s points

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The preliminary agreement between Syria and the United Nations on the deployment of U.N. observers says they will have freedom to go anywhere in the country by foot or by car, take pictures, and use technical equipment to monitor compliance with the cease-fire. But the issue of using helicopters and aircraft remains under discussion.

The seven-page “preliminary understanding” obtained Thursday night by The Associated Press spells out the requirements of the Syrian government and opposition under the six-point peace plan by international envoy Kofi Annan, including stopping “armed violence in all its forms.”

President Bashar Assad’s government signed the document in Damascus, but U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Security Council earlier Thursday that Syria has failed to fully implement any of the six points. The U.N. chief said the situation remains “highly precarious,” citing an escalation of violence including “shelling of civilian areas, grave abuses by government forces and attacks by armed groups.”

The document identifies responsibilities and procedures for the 30-member U.N. advance team, which is slowly deploying to Syria, and any larger observer mission authorized by the Security Council.

Under Annan’s plan, Syrian is required to pull troops and heavy equipment out of towns and cities — which Ban said it has not done.

The preliminary understanding says this means they should return to barracks located “a minimum of 2-3 kilometers outside the perimeter of these population centers.” But it says this doesn’t apply to barracks within cities and towns that are considered the permanent location of units.

According to the agreement, the Syrian government must allow unhindered access of U.N. personnel to facilities, locations, individuals and groups considered of interest and any larger observer mission, the agreement says, and the observers will have operational freedom “to conduct any type of mandated operation at any time, by foot or by car.”

The observers will also have freedom to install temporary observation posts in cities and towns, freedom to monitor military convoys approaching population centers, freedom to investigate any potential violation, and freedom to access detention centers and medical centers in coordination with the International Committee of the Red Cross and Syrian authorities, the agreement says.

It says “where appropriate” the observers will notify and coordinate with the Syrian government on their operations.

“The Syrian armed forces may continue to maintain the security of strategic assets and installations, e.g. ports, airports, highways, refineries etc.,” the agreement says.

As for the opposition, the agreement states that Annan, the joint U.N.-Arab League envoy, must confirm:

—that armed groups allow U.N. observers and humanitarian personnel freedom of movement anywhere in areas they control.

—that opposition fighters stop “all acts of aggression against Syrian army formations, bases, convoys and infrastructure … against government agencies, buildings, infrastructure as well as private and public properties and not to hinder the resumption of public services.”

—that the opposition “commit to stop all illegal activities according to Syrian law, including assassinations, kidnapping or vandalism; and to return all public and private property, stolen through violence, to their rightful owners,”

—that it “refrain from training, rearming, regrouping or reorganizing military formations … (and) cease public and private displays of weapons.”

—that it commit “not to conduct or initiate activities such as establishing checkpoints, conducting patrols or policing activities.”

The agreement states that in the event of a violation, the advance team or full observer mission “will investigate the circumstances surrounding the violation and notify the offending party in writing and state necessary corrective action.”

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

Join us!
A message from the Editor of Times of Israel
David Horovitz

For as little as $6 a month, you can help support our independent journalism — and enjoy special benefits and status as a Times of Israel Community member!

The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.

We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.

Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.

Join our community
read more:
comments