Head of the UN observer mission to Syria, Gen. Robert Mood, said on Friday the mission is working at finding a successful way to be deployed in Syria thanks to the advanced level of cooperation by the Syrian government, the UN Presidency and the contributor countries.
Addressing a press conference at Dama Rose Hotel in Damascus, Gen. Mood announced that he will give permission to move from the first stage of the mission, which includes pre-deployment arrangements and planning, to the stage of implementation.
“I’m sure we will reach full operational capabilities in record time,” he said.
While expressing relief at what the observers saw and felt since their arrival, Gen. Mood noted that they were faced with some events of violence, which he said has been going on over the period required for full deployment of the observer mission.
He emphasized that it is not possible for any number of observers to achieve an advanced level of violence reduction unless a real chance is given to dialogue by all internal and external parties.
“I’m convinced more than any time before that no extent of violence can solve this crisis,” Gen. Mood added.
He pointed out that his mission plans to get the parties to engage in dialogue to restore stability as soon as possible, adding that this is not expected to happen before reducing the level of violence committed and halting it.
“We are very serious and committed towards the innocent Syrian people, women and children to help in regaining hope and restoring life back to normal, but we should be given a real chance by the battling parties and those supporting them,” said Gen. Mood.
He noted that there are 260 military observers on the ground from 60 countries, which he said are not enough large numbers in the military sense for the international community on the ground to serve the Syrian people and contribute to reducing violence and regaining stability in order for this people to realize its aspirations through a political process but not through more violence.
He voiced his intention to have regular meetings with reporters, which he said will be on weekly basis or whenever they have the opportunity.
On the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s comments on al-Qaeda’s involvement in the latest bombings in Syria, Gen. Mood said the bombings which they saw recently in Damascus are evidence of the great violence being committed, expressing concern over the events in which explosives are being used that claim the lives of innocent civilians.
Asked whether violence has increased under the presence of the observers, Gen. Mood said that the level of violence has decreased significantly since the observers’ arrival, and that he felt the observers’ impact in the places where they are deployed.
He however added that he shared everybody’s concern over increasing violence in recent days more than on other previous days.
Answering a question on what the observer team faced in Khan Sheikhoun, Gen. Mood said that an explosion took place in front of four UN vehicles, and that caused damage to the vehicles in the front.
“We don’t want this kind of violence to happen again,” added Gen. Mood, noting that this kind of violence is considered a challenge targeting not only the observers on the ground but also the efforts of the international community.
He called on those who carry out such acts, regardless of their motives, to reconsider their acts.
International Observers Continue Tours in Damascus Countryside, Deir Ezzor, Homs and Hama
A delegation of the international observers on Friday visited the city of Daraya in Damascus Countryside and met a number of the citizens.
The observers also inspected the site where an explosive device was set off in a phone booth in Barzeh area and visited the injured who had been rushed to Ibn al-Nafis Hospital.
Another delegation visited al-Madlaji roundabout and the neighborhoods of al-Jbeileh and al-Joureh in Deir Ezzor province,in addition to the site where law-enforcement forces were attacked in al-Jawzeh neighborhood, then they visited the injured at the military hospital.
In Homs province, a team of observers toured the neighborhoods of al-Khaldieh, al-Qusour, al-Baiyadeh and the National Hospital of Homs.
In Hama, a team of observers visited the site where bombing had targeted law-enforcement forces near al-Bahra Roundabout earlier on Friday.
The team also met with people wounded in the attack, then visited al-Sebahi Roundabout and the town of Mork where they met with the locals.
H. Said / H. Sabbagh