Start the Clock

15 Apr

Road to Peace.jpg Let me go on the record: I’m opposed to the United Nations’ Syria deployment.

Syrian forces have pounded central districts of Homs while rebels fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad have attacked a police station in the northern province of Aleppo, opposition activists and a rights group have said.

The reports on Sunday morning came after the UN security council authorised the deployment of the first batch of 30 unarmed monitors to Syria in a unanimous vote on Saturday.

A spokesman for international envoy Kofi Annan said a group of six observers were due to arrive on Sunday night and will be “on the ground in blue helmets tomorrow.”

In Homs, Walid al-Fares, an activist living in Khalidiya, one of the neighbourhoods where mortars bombs have landed, said: “Early this morning we saw a helicopter and a spotter plane fly overhead. Ten minutes later, there was heavy shelling.”

Another resident said that government loyalists were using heavy machine guns to shoot into the area.

Rami Abdelrahman, head of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said shells were being fired at a rate of one a minute.

Abdelrahman said there had also been overnight clashes in rural Aleppo: “People said they heard explosions and shooting after rebels attacked a police station and then clashed with police.”

The fresh violence came after the fragile three-day-old ceasefire had already been rocked by fighting in the central city of Homs on Saturday, where regime forces shelled rebel-held neighbourhoods. Rebel fighters were also reported to have fired rocket-propelled grenades at an area held by regime loyalists.

It’s not as if I like despots – even western-educated ones – but generally I think, that less is more, because there’s rarely more than one good policy, about a hundred ways to implement it badly, and countless silly policies that always stymie the will to commit to anything sane. Without a clear goal and a means to reach it, the United Nations isn’t even at that point yet.

And, this kind of diplomacy isn’t encouraging either.

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