U.N. peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday that the increasing danger in Syria made it impossible for the U.N. observer mission to consider resuming operations at the moment, a council diplomat said.
Ladsous also told the 15-nation council that the Syrian government has barred the unarmed U.N. observer mission from using satellite telephones, a key tool for their work, the diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Earlier on Tuesday, Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will attend a meeting on the escalating conflict in Syria that international
mediator Kofi Annan has organized in Geneva this weekend
Russia said the shooting down of a Turkish military aircraft by Syrian air defenses should not be seen as a provocation or a premeditated action by Damascus.
Earlier, Turkey’s PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed that the Turkish jet was fired at over
international waters, not inside Syrian airspace as maintained
by the Syrian government.
Erdogan added that “ however valuable Turkey’s
friendship is, its wrath is just as strong”.
Turkish PM said that Turkey’s rational response to the downing of jet “should not be mistaken for weakness”.
The Turkish Armed Forces' rules of engagement have changed as a result of Syria shooting down a Turkish warplane and they will respond to any violation on the Syrian border, Erdogan said. Turkey would not engage in war-mongering, but the attack on the reconnaissance jet, which was deliberately targeted, would not be left unanswered, Erdogan added.
Separately, NATO member states condemned Syria on Tuesday for its shooting down of a Turkish military jet, calling it "unacceptable" and demanding that Damascus take steps to prevent further incidents.
Ambassadors of NATO's 28 member states met in Brussels on Tuesday to consult with Turkey on the incident. Turkey, a NATO member, had called for the meeting.
Rasmussen said NATO security was "indivisible", but he said NATO's Article 5, which calls for member states to see an attack on one country as an attack on all the alliance's members, had not been discussed.
In the field, activists reported heavy clashes between Syrian rebels and the elite Republican Guard in two suburbs of the capital Damascus.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the clashes erupted on Tuesday in the suburbs of Qudsaya and Hammah. It said that several people have been reported killed but gave no figures.
Tuesday's clashes were reported near the housing compounds and bases of the Republican Guard.