UN Security Council: 300 Observers for Syria Ceasefire

Deal Includes Additional Civilian Specialists as Well

by Jason Ditz, April 21, 2012

The United Nations Security Council has voted today to turn the ceasefire observers in Syria into a full mission, under the name UN Supervision Mission in Syria, with plans to send 300 unarmed military observers and a team of civilian specialists to join the “advance” group already on the ground.

The agreement capped a week of arguments over competing resolutions offered by the US and Russia. The American version included multiple condemnations of the Syrian government and threats of new sanctions if the entire Syrian military didn’t withdraw unilaterally to their barracks. The Russian version simply authorized the observers. In the end, the Russian version won out, but with a compromise that added “profound regret” for the past deaths of Syrian civilians to the text.

Next on the agenda for the UN mission will be negotiating with the Assad regime on the use of helicopters for the observers. The UN and Syria reached a deal on Thursday to allow the expansion of the mission.

The ceasefire, which began a week ago Thursday, has not been entirely successful, but the level of violence in the nation has dropped dramatically since its implementation. Both sides continue to accuse one another of violations, however, and the US and France have both hinted at using the “violation” as an excuse for a military invasion. The new observer resolution, one hopes, will quiet the calls for war at least for a while.

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