The head of the UN observer mission in Syria says he is still hopeful that the unrest in the country can be resolved through peaceful means.
The UN’s team in Syria “will continue our work to find new paths to political dialogue and peaceful resolution to the crisis," Reuters quoted General Robert Mood as telling a news conference in Damascus on Thursday.
The Norwegian general called for a ceasefire so that 300 UN observers can continue their work in Syria.
“We are in a situation where we have the contacts and knowledge, but we have no ceasefire. So it is time to stop spreading ourselves out too thin and restructure in a way that will allow us, once we resume our activities, to conduct targeted tasks that require longer periods of stay in particular areas,” he said.
Mood dismissed calls for reduction of unarmed observers amid escalating violence in Syria, insisting that the monitors do not need arms to conduct their mission.
He said consolidating the UN team’s eight bases across Syria into regional centers would give it "the flexibility to effectively work on facilitating political dialogue and stability projects."
The United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria was formed in April to oversee the implementation of a six-point peace deal brokered by the UN-Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan.
The mission was, however, forced to suspend its activities last month because of rising violence and awaiting the Security Council’s verdict, expected in a matter of weeks, to resume its monitoring task.
Syria has been experiencing unrest ever since March 2011, with demonstrations being held both against and in support of President Bashar al-Assad's government.
The Syrian government says outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorists are the driving factor behind the unrest and deadly violence. Damascus also says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country and the security forces have been given clear instructions not to harm civilians.