UN chief sends envoy to assess situation in Syria

"I am sending my Undersecretary General for Peacekeeping Operations (Hervé Ladsous) to Syria to assess the situation as well as the top UN military advisor (General Babacar Gaye) to lead UNSMIS (mission) in this critical phase," Ban said after meeting Croatian officials in the Adriatic resort of Brijuni.

Ban's remarks came a day after the UN Security Council approved a 30-day extension for an unarmed observer mission and two days after Russia and China vetoed a resolution to impose further sanctions on the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"The unanimous vote yesterday on Resolution 2 051 is a constructive sign," Ban said.

Ban called on the UN Security Council to "redouble efforts to forge a united way forward and exercise its collective responsibility".

"The Syrian government has manifestly failed to protect civilians and the international community has collective responsibility to live up to the UN Charter and act on its principles," he said.

In Syria, government forces pounded rebels in Damascus overnight, battling to reverse opposition gains in the aftermath of the assassination of Assad's security chiefs.

Lightly-armed fighters have been moving through the streets on foot and attacking security installations and roadblocks.

But the heart of the city was quiet by 6am on Saturday, residents told Reuters.

"I am deeply distressed by the rising death toll and the growing number of people who have been forced to flee their homes within the country and across the borders," Ban said.

Ban said that the extension of the mandate of the UN observers was "a strong signal" that responsibility for ending the violence was "above all on the parties" in the conflict.

The UN chief said the Syrian government must stop the use of heavy weapons against the population and that all armed operations must end.

"The path towards peace is clear, there must be an end to killing and human rights violations and a rapid move towards the peaceful Syrian-led political transition and dialogue." – Reuters

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Guest Author

ConCourt settles the law on the public protector and interim...

The Constitutional Court said it welcomed robust debate but criticised the populist rhetoric in the battle between Busisiwe Mkhwebane and Minister Pravin Gordhan

Small towns not ready for level 3

Officials in Beaufort West, which is on a route that links the Cape with the rest of the country, are worried relaxed lockdown regulations mean residents are now at risk of contracting Covid-19

Press Releases

Covid-19 and Back to School Webinar

If our educators can take care of themselves, they can take care of the children they teach

5G technology is the future

Besides a healthcare problem Covid-19 is also a data issue and 5G technology, with its lightning speed, can help to curb its spread

JTI off to court for tobacco ban: Government not listening to industry or consumers

The tobacco ban places 109 000 jobs and 179 000 wholesalers and retailers at risk — including the livelihood of emerging farmers

Holistic Financial Planning for Professionals Webinar

Our lives are constantly in flux, so it makes sense that your financial planning must be reviewed frequently — preferably on an annual basis

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before

Wills, Estate Administration and Succession Planning Webinar

Capital Legacy has had no slowdown in lockdown regarding turnaround with clients, in storing or retrieving wills and in answering their questions

Call for Expression of Interest: Training supply and needs assessment to support the energy transition in South Africa

GIZ invites eligible and professional companies with local presence in South Africa to participate in this tender to support the energy transition

Obituary: Mohammed Tikly

His legacy will live on in the vision he shared for a brighter more socially just future, in which racism and discrimination are things of the past

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday