World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Violence Increasing In Syria, Taking Heavy Toll on Civilians

Violence Increasing In Many Parts of Syria, Taking Heavy Toll on Civilians – UN Mission

New York, Aug 13 2012 - Violence and the indiscriminate use of heavy weapons by the Government as well as targeted attacks by the opposition are increasing in Syria, the head of the United Nations observer force said today, adding that this is taking a heavy toll on innocent civilians.

“It is clear that violence is increasing in many parts of Syria,” said the UN Military Adviser, Lieutenant General Babacar Gaye, who is currently serving as the head of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS). “Our patrols are monitoring the impact of this violence, visiting internally displaced people and hospitals.”

Syria has been wracked by violence, with an estimated 17,000 people, mostly civilians, killed since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began some 17 months ago.

In the previous two weeks, there have been reports of an escalation in violence in many towns and villages, as well as the country’s two biggest cities, Damascus and Aleppo, with the latter reportedly the centre of intense combat between Government and opposition forces, involving both aerial bombardments and heavy weaponry.

Addressing a press conference in the Syrian capital, Damascus, Lieutenant General Gaye said that UNSMIS had reoriented its activities to monitor the level of violence and the use of heavy weapons, and had also intensified efforts to facilitate “local pauses” to enable assistance to civilians. The Mission had suspended its regular patrolling and monitoring activities in mid-June due to the escalating violence.

“The fighting continues and I continue to remind the parties of their obligations to respect international humanitarian law and to protect civilians. The conflict has gone on too long and far too many people are suffering,” Lieutenant General Gaye said.

“Concerning the future, UNSMIS has six days to go. We will continue to the last minute of our mandate to urge the Parties to move from confrontation to dialogue,” he added.

In separate meetings with Government officials and members of the opposition, UNSMIS officials appealed to the parties to cease military operations and come to the negotiation table, Lieutenant General Gaye said, adding that the UN is ready to support political dialogue among Syrians.

Initially set up in April for 90 days, in late July, the Council adopted resolution 2059, which extended the mission’s mandate for another 30 days. The resolution also indicated that further renewals to UNSMIS’ mandate would be possible only if it can be confirmed that the use of heavy weapons has ceased and a reduction in violence by all sides was sufficient to allow the Mission to implement its mandate. With the 30-day extension, the mission’s mandate is set to expire on Sunday.

Meanwhile, various UN agencies continue to provide relief supplies to the three million people in the country who are in need of humanitarian aid.

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) today reported that it had sent a convoy of food and medical aid to Damascus for the 2,400 Palestinian refugee families that have been affected by the conflict.

The 17-truck convoy carried 360 tons of flour, rice, sugar, lentils, chickpeas, pasta and medicines, worth $650,000. The aid was donated by Palestinian companies, businesspeople, and other individuals, and the shipment was coordinated by the Palestinian Authority with Jordanian and Syrian authorities.

For more details go to UN News Centre at


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Afghanistan: Record Number Of Women And Children Killed Or Wounded

More women and children were killed and wounded in Afghanistan in the first half of 2021 than in the first six months of any year since records began in 2009, a United Nations report revealed on Monday... More>>

Tale Of Two Pandemics: Follow The Science And Do Not Forget One At The Cost Of The Other

Covid-19 has posed innumerable health, economic, and social challenges for all, including people living with HIV. It has exposed the fragility of health systems around the globe and has diverted political attention and funding from other infectious diseases like TB and HIV... More>>

UN: Rights Chief Calls For Prompt Release Of Protestors Held In Cuba
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Friday called for the prompt release of protestors and journalists detained during anti-government demonstrations in Cuba, some of whom are being held incommunicado... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Food Systems: More Than 100 Countries Discuss Visions For Futures To Accelerate Global Action Ahead Of September Summit

More than 100 countries came together over the course of three-days to discuss how they will transform their national food systems to drive progress against the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030... More>>

Food Systems: Italian & Rwandan Leaders Join Urgent Call To Transform World’s Food Systems As Pre-Summit Begins

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Rwandan President Paul Kagame stress need for more inclusive, sustainable and holistic approaches ahead of the Summit in New York in September... More>>

UN: Play:Fair For People And Planet – A Major United Nations Music Activation
organized by the UN SDG Action Campaign in partnership with Music Innovation Hub, Keychange, the city of Milan, the Milan Triennale, and partners from the SDG Music Network, will be held at an unexpected location in the center of Milan, Italy, taking into account safety measures with a limited on-site audience consisting of activists and fans... More>>