Syria says it must be involved in monitors' mission

Saying it cannot protect monitors unless it is involved, gov't also reserves right to refuse them based on their nationality.

April 15, 2012 19:05
2 minute read.
Buildings damaged by Syrian gov't shelling in Homs

Buildings damaged by Syrian government shelling in Homs 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


BEIRUT - The Syrian government said it could not be responsible for the safety of international ceasefire monitors unless it is involved in "all steps on the ground", a government spokeswoman and presidential adviser said on Sunday.

Bouthaina Shaaban also said Syria, which has lost many former allies during a violent 13-month crackdown against opponents of President Bashar Assad, reserved the right to refuse monitors depending on their nationality.

"The duration of the work of observers and priorities of their movement will be in coordination with the Syrian government because Syria cannot be responsible for the security of these observers unless it coordinates and participates in all steps on the ground," she told reporters in Damascus.

"Syria has the right ... to agree or not to agree on the nationalities of the observers," she added.

An initial team of UN ceasefire monitors is due to arrive in Syria on Sunday evening and will be deployed on Monday, the spokesman for international mediator Kofi Annan said.

They will be joined by at least two dozen more in coming days in line with a United Nations Security Council resolution adopted on Saturday authorizing their deployment, Ahmad Fawzi said.

But Shabaan's comments will be seen by many as an attempt to control the international observers, whose mission is to oversee an already shaky 4-day-old truce. On Sunday, Syrian forces pounded the central city of Homs, activists said.

Click for full JPost coverage

Shabaan also hinted that Syria would not uphold the ceasefire if armed elements of the opposition attacked.

"It is Syria's right to respond to any acts of aggression against Syrian forces, civilians or private property," she said.

According to Shaaban, the first group of 30 observers will sign a "protocol" with the Syrian government to pave the way for a further 220 monitors.

Shaaban said the protocol had been agreed with General Robert Mood, a Norwegian who led a UN negotiating team in Syria earlier this month, and that further terms will be agreed with him when he returns to the country.

Syria welcomes the monitors, she said, as they will see acts of kidnapping, killing and destruction carried out by "terrorists".

"Spreading these monitors in Syria benefits the country," she said.

The UN estimates Assad's forces have killed more than 9,000 people in the uprising. Syrian authorities say foreign-backed militants have killed more than 2,500 soldiers and police.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Anti-government protesters demonstrate on a street in central Ankara
June 16, 2013
Thousands take to streets of Istanbul, defy Erdogan