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UN Monitors Suspend Syria Operations Due To Escalating Violence

Syria -- The head of the UN observer mission in Syria, Major General Robert Mood, talks to local state-run television stations during a visit to the coastal city of Latakia in early May.
The chief of UN observers in Syria says the mission is suspending its activities and patrols because of escalating violence in the country.

Major General Robert Mood said in a statement on June 16 that the bloodshed was posing significant risks to the observers and impeding their ability to carry out their mandate.

He said the observers would not be conducting patrols and would stay in their locations in the country "until further notice."

The suspension comes as both the regime and the opposition have ignored a cease-fire plan brokered by international envoy Kofi Annan and that was supposed to go into effect on April 12.

Meanwhile, Syrian activists said government forces shelled neighborhoods on the outskirts of Damascus.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said activists in the suburb of Douma confirmed shelling of that neighborhood and the Arbeen and Tall suburbs.

Syrian state news agency SANA reported military action against "terrorists" in Douma.

Syrian authorities regularly refer to the armed opposition as "terrorists."

In the besieged central city of Homs, the Observatory said more than 1,000 families, including women and children, trapped in some districts without access to adequate food or medical care.

The Vatican news agency also reported on June 16 there were some 800 Muslims and Christians trapped in districts around Homs who sent out an appeal that simply said, "Let us leave in the name of God."

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and AFP

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