Syrian Children. Photo: Flick/FreedomHouse2 (CC BY 2.0)
Syria: civilians at serious risk
Last updated: 6/15/2012 //
“I fully understand General Mood’s decision to suspend UNSMIS’s operations. The risk to the observers’ safety is a serious cause of concern. At the same time, their absence could put civilians in even greater danger, and the Syrian authorities would be responsible,” commented Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre.
The Syrian authorities have recently been obstructing UNSMIS’s work. They have, for example, denied UNSMIS access to areas where massacres initiated by the regime have taken place.
“The UN Security Council must meet as soon as possible and exert pressure on the Syrian regime so that the violence can be reduced. UNSMIS is unarmed, and can only operate in a situation where the parties agree to its presence and facilitate its work,” said Mr Støre.
The situation in Syria is alarming and is growing steadily worse. The violence has intensified over the last few days and there is a risk of it spreading into the wider region.
“There are several parties to the conflict in Syria, including several armed groups, but nevertheless the authorities and President Assad bear a particular responsibility, and the recent massacres clearly demonstrate that they are not shouldering this responsibility. The Syrian regime must be held accountable for the atrocities that have been perpetrated against its own people,” said Mr Støre.