UN approves 300-strong peace team for Syria

UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council voted unanimously on Saturday to increase the number of observers in Syria to 300 for three months.

A 30-member UN team is already in Syria to monitor a fragile ceasefire between government forces and rebel militias.

The UN resolution was approved at a time when the monitors were allowed to visit the city of Homs for the first time.

The resolution, sponsored by Russia and China, will allow monitors to be deployed for an initial period of 90 days as part of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS), according to sources.

The resolution urges Syria to implement “visibly” the ceasefire, stop troop movements and use of heavy weapons in population centres, and to send troops back to the barracks.

UN special envoy Kofi Annan brokered a six-point plan to end the conflict in Syria that the UN estimates has killed more than 9,000 people since March last year. While the daily death toll has fallen since the truce, dozens of killings are still reported on most days, with both sides accusing the other of violating the ceasefire.

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