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A mission of 300 observers rapidly deployed in Syria. New resolution

(BRUSSELS2) The Security Council finally approved, on Saturday (April 21), the deployment of a mission of observers responsible for monitoring compliance with the ceasefire in Syria. According to this new resolution (which bears the number 2343), UNSMIS – as the United Nations supervision mission in Syria – will be “ under the command of a Chief Military Observer ". It will be composed, initially, 300 unarmed military observers "and a civilian component" appropriate for the Mission to carry out its mandate ". The mission will have to be deployed in a “ fast ". With a reserve "the Secretary-General's assessment of developments on the ground, including the sustained cessation of violence and for a period of 90 days, initially.

Mandate: control of the ceasefire and the Annan plan

The mandate given to the mission is: monitor compliance by all parties with the cessation of armed violence in all its forms, and monitor and support the implementation of the six-point proposal by Kofi Annan.

The Security Council calls on Syria to “honor visibly and in full” the commitments made following the agreement with Kofi Annan: “ a) to put an end to the movements of troops in the direction of agglomerations; b) stop using heavy weapons in settlements; (c) complete the withdrawal of troops concentrated in and around settlements and cause the troops to withdraw, with their heavy weapons, from the settlements in which they are located and return to their barracks or be deployed in temporary areas, in order to facilitate the lasting cessation of violence”.

The means of the mission must be guaranteed by Syria

The Security Council also calls on the Syrian Government to ensure the proper functioning of the Mission by " facilitating the rapid and unhindered deployment of the personnel and means necessary for the execution of its mandate, immediately ensuring the full and unimpeded freedom of movement and access necessary for the execution of its mandate ". It now remains to conclude a SOFA agreement between the UN and Syria on the status of the Mission; in the meantime it was agreed to apply the 1990 SOFA standard agreement. The “ means of air transport » of UNSMIS and its means of communication. The resolution recommends to those in power to let UN observers “ communicate without hindrance and guaranteeing the freedom to communicate confidentially with people throughout Syria, without those who come into contact with the Mission being subject to reprisals”.

The Annan Plan

For the record, the plan negotiated by the former Secretary General of the United Nations, special envoy to Syria, includes six points:

  • 1) A political framework: “ an open political process, led by Syrians, in order to respond to the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the population and (…) commit to designating an interlocutor with the necessary powers ";
  • 2) A cessation of fighting: “ Commit to stopping the fighting and urgently ensuring, under United Nations supervision, an effective cessation of all forms of armed violence by all parties in order to protect civilians and stabilize the country ( …) The Syrian Government should immediately end troop movements towards population centers, stop using heavy weapons in population centers and begin withdrawing troops concentrated in and around population centers. (…) The Envoy will work to bring the opposition and all the elements concerned to commit to stopping the fighting and to working with him to put a lasting end to all forms of violence by all parties within the framework an effective monitoring mechanism under the auspices of the United Nations”;
  • 3) Access to humanitarian aid: “ Ensure that humanitarian aid reaches all areas affected by the fighting in a timely manner and, to this end, approve and observe, immediately, a daily humanitarian pause of two hours and coordinate the exact time and modalities of this pause within the framework of an effective mechanism, including at the local level”;
  • 4) The release of political prisoners: “ Accelerate and multiply measures for the release of persons arbitrarily detained, in particular those who belong to particularly vulnerable categories or who have taken part in peaceful political activities, communicate without delay through the appropriate channels a list of all the places where these persons are detained, take immediate steps to ensure access to such places and respond promptly, through appropriate channels, to all written requests for information, access and release concerning such persons”;
  • 5) Respect for the freedom of the press: “ Ensure the freedom of movement of journalists throughout the country and apply a non-discriminatory visa policy towards them”;
  • 6) … and freedom of expression: “ Respect freedom of association and the right to demonstrate peacefully”.

Download : resolution 2243 and Annan map

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Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).