The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously Saturday to allow 300 additional truce monitors to enter Syria, but their deployment would be conditional on a cessation of violence from Syrian government forces.
The resolution, sponsored by Russia and China, would allow the 300 observers into the country for an initial period of 90 days. But some Western countries, while voting for the resolution, said the measure did not go far enough.
Speaking after the vote, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice told the chamber the United States' patience had run out with the Assad regime.
"The United States strongly supports full implementation of the Joint Special Envoy's six-point plan. Yet, let there be no doubt: we, our allies and others in this body are planning and preparing for those actions that will be required of us all, if the Assad regime persists in the slaughter of the Syrian people," Rice said.
Her statement signaled the U.S. could consider an alternative plan ahead of the 90-day deadline of violence persists. It is unclear whether this would include military action. Additionally, the U.S. delegation was disappointed the resolution did not include further sanctions against Syria. They could push for these sanctions along with their allies outside of the U.N. system in coming days.
The Syrian Ambassador to the U.N. H.E. Bashar Ja'afari continued to reject the evidence his country's military is attacking protesters and other civilians, blaming the violence on terrorist groups supported by Qatar. Ignoring the government shelling of Homs, Ja'afari said there were 539 violations of truce by terrorist "armed groups" between April 12 & 20.
Additionally, Ja'afari said this increase in monitors, and any other outside action to combat the crisis in Syria, was seen by his country as a veiled excuse for military action. He added most countries involved were opposed to the Syrian regime "in principle," making the mission partial.
He said the Syrian government would do whatever it could to ensure no outside interference would occur, stating the military action that brought down the Qaddafi regime in Libya amounted to a slaughter of innocents by NATO.
The resolution also asked for aid to be allowed more freely to enter the country. On Friday, the U.S. State Department announced it would provide an additional $8 million in humanitarian assistance for the Syrian people, 300,000 of which have been internally displaced due to the crisis.
Going forward, the success of the observers' mission will depend on the Syrian government. The resolution passed calls for the army to provide protection to the 300-member team and free passage throughout the country, something Syria has not guaranteed it will provide.
by RTT Staff Writer
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