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UN Security Council Unanimously Backs Sending Syria Monitors

A video grab on April 12 showed a military checkpoint manned by government forces in the Qusur district of the central Syrian city of Homs.
The UN Security Council has voted unanimously to send an advance monitoring team to Syria as a shaky three-day-old cease-fire continues to curb the violence but not halt it completely.

UN Resolution 2042 approved the first 30 unarmed monitors, who are expected to leave within days.

A new resolution with a full mandate will be required for a full monitoring mission of more than 200 observers.

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice announced the 15-0 result of the vote, adding that the Security Council will consider "further steps" if Syria does not end the violence.

The truce, which formally came into effect on April 12, is at the center of international envoy Kofi Annan's plan to end more than a year of bloodshed that has killed more than 9,000 people since the Arab Spring-style protests and insurrection began.

A spokesman for Annan had said before the vote that the advance team of "around 10 or 12" observers was "standing by to board planes and to get themselves on the ground as soon as possible."

Security Council members had met behind closed doors for several hours on April 13 to discuss rival drafts by the U.S., its European allies, and by Russia.

Before the April 14 vote, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that the Security Council's members had"practically agreed" the resolution, and it called on both the Syrian government and the opposition to "strictly" observe the Annan peace plan.

Meanwhile, at least nine people were killed in clashes between rebels and government forces that threatened the fragile cease-fire. The heaviest fighting was reported in the central city of Homs, where activists had said Syrian troops shelled two rebel-held neighborhoods overnight.