The U.N. Security Council has decided not to renew the mandate of the United Nation mission in Syria. It will be rolled up on the night of Aug. 20, Reuters quoted French Ambassador to the U.N. Gerard Araud as saying at a press conference after a closed-door council meeting on Thursday.
"The general finding was that the conditions were not met for the pursuit of this mission, the mandate of UNSMIS is over," Araud told reporters after a Council meeting on Syria.
Araud added that, there was a consensus at the Council that the UN will maintain a presence in Damascus, after the end of the mission, as a liaison office.
This will be a "small group" of probably 20 to 30 policy, military and humanitarian experts, according to U.N. Assistant Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations Edward Mulet. He added that he did not know who would be responsible, but that the Syrian government had agreed to these conditions.
He added that the last military observer mission would leave Syria on Aug. 24.
The international observer mission originally included 300 unarmed members, but its numbers had been gradually reduced due to intensified fighting that had forced it to suspend their patrols in mid-June.
On July 20, the council unanimously approved a resolution that extended the U.N. observer mission for 30 days if there was a reduction in violence on both sides.
Meanwhile, Russia, an ally of the Syrian regime, asked the major powers together with Saudi Arabia and Iran would launch an appeal to the Syrian government and opposition to end the violence as soon as possible.
Russian ambassador to the U.N. has proposed a meeting Friday in New York for the international task force on Syria to discuss the proposal, which he said should ask all parties to put an end to violence and set the specific time when it will start.
However, Russia is satisfied that the Security Council took into consideration recommendations of the U.N. Secretary General to maintain a liaison office in Damascus, said Churkin.
Earlier Thursday, the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation suspended Syria, with its chief Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu saying: Muslim world can no longer accept a regime that massacres its people using planes, tanks and heavy artillery.
Moreover, diplomats have told Reuters on condition of anonymity that Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi has agreed to replace as U.N. and Arab League special envoy on Syria. Kofi Annan was appointed on Feb. 23 but his peace plan, which included six points to resolve the conflict in Syria, has never been implemented.