Damascus announced on
Saturday that it understands the decision of U.N. monitors to temporarily
suspend their mission in Syria, adding that it is keen on their safety. Syria
accused “armed terrorist groups” of targeting the monitors, according to a
statement issued by the Syrian Foreign Ministry.
In turn, the White House said on Saturday it was consulting international partners on "next steps" in the Syria crisis after U.N. observers suspended operations there in response to violence that has escalated despite a ceasefire.
"We call again on the Syrian regime to uphold its commitments under the Annan plan, including the full implementation of a ceasefire," White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said in a statement.
United Nations monitors in Syria have suspended operations because of the increasing violence over the last 10 days, the head of the observer mission said on Saturday.
General Robert Mood said the relentless bloodshed posed a threat to his unarmed observers, one of whose patrols was fired upon four days ago, and prevented them from carrying out their mandate to monitor Annan's widely ignored April 12 ceasefire.
"There has been an intensification of armed violence across Syria over the past 10 days," Mood said in statement.
"The lack of willingness by the parties to seek a peaceful transition, and the push towards advancing military positions is increasing the losses on both sides."
The Human Observatory for
Human Rights announced that 36 people were killed on Saturday in several Syria
The Observatory urged
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to interfere to protect over a thousand
families that have been trapped for weeks in several neighborhoods in Homs,
under continuous shelling by security forces.
In turn, former Head of the Syrian National Council Burhan Ghalioun called for the
deployment of peacekeepers across Syria ,following Mood’s announcement
monitors will suspend operations.
Syrian Opposition leaders continued talks in Istanbul on
Saturday to settle differences and form a unified front.
Representatives of Syrian opposition groups had begun their assembly on Friday
according to Ghalioun.
Alongside the Syrian National Council, the Kurdish National Council is joining
in the discussions. The latter had previously refused to join in the talks at
the request of Ghalioun last March.