Syrian Ceasefire Violated by Both Sides
Reports have emerged that Syrian forces have sent a barrage of mortar fire at an opposition stronghold in Homs, which has been under almost continuous attack since a ceasefire began last Thursday. Likewise, Syrian state news SANA reported there were two separate roadside bombs which killed ten members of the security forces and a civilian. The recent spat of violence erupted in the midst of the arrival of an advance team of six U.N. observers earlier in the week. But U.S. representative to the U.N., Susan Rice, warned that the situation was not improving. ”The violence is continuing, the bombardments, particularly in Homs, seem to be increasing,” said Rice.
Meanwhile, Secretary-General of the U.N., Ban Ki-Moon called for larger a U.N. observer mission, one which is supported by planes and helicopters from the E.U., as the 250 proposed observer force is too small “considering the current situation and considering the vastness of the country.” There is hope that the U.N. will provide a more in-depth mission to Syrian like the Arab League did earlier in the year. Emile Hokayem of the International Institute for Strategic Studies believes, “The U.N. has greater experience, so they will be a bit more professional,” but added that the team may not be equal to the task of quelling violence by a wide range of disorganized rebel factions, as well as a military that has been internationally condemned for its response to the uprising. Guest host Lynn Neary said on Morning Edition that the U.N. peace plan in Syria “is unraveling,” while Nicolas Nassif writes (Arabic) that the looming sectarian civil war, or ”Lebanonization” of Syria, has just begun.