World Bulletin / News Desk
Major General Robert Mood left his hotel in Damascus on Thursday to fly to Geneva after a 90-day U.N. peace monitoring mission to Syria ended, even as battles between forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and rebels raged in parts of the capital.
The observers' mandate ends on Friday, but the United Nations' 15-nation Security Council is set to decide later on Thursday whether it should be extended for 45 days.
"I leave satisfied that I, and some 400 brave women and men, have done our best, under very challenging circumstances," Mood, who led the U.N. mission, told a news conference in the Dama Rose hotel.
"For the sake of the Syrian people we need effective leadership from the Security Council and genuine unity around a political plan that meets the aspirations of the Syrian people and that is accepted by the Parties," Mood said.
"Government and opposition must be willing to make the necessary concessions and sit at the negotiating table," he added, saying there was no hope for the crisis to be resolved through fighting.
Separately, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday he was alarmed by the intensifying violence in Syria, saying he strongly condemned the bombing in Damascus on Wednesday that killed the Syrian defence minister and President Assad's brother-in-law.
Mood's farewell speech came as the U.N. Security Council was preparing to vote later on Thursday on a Western-backed resolution that threatens Syrian authorities with sanctions and is aimed at ending the 16-month conflict.
Russia, a key ally of Syria, has refused to engage in negotiations on the resolution that would extend the U.N. observer mission in Syria for 45 days and place envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, diplomats say.
U.N. monitors, who have been unable to halt the violence, suspended patrols in June after repeated attacks on convoys.
Abbott says that ISIL 'boast about their evil' rather than hide it
More than 300 of the deaths reported last month were registered in violence-wracked Baghdad alone
Israel PM says he’s ready to resume negotiations with Palestinians; PLO’s Erekat calls assertion ‘hollow public-relations talk’
In recent weeks, several opponents of Egyptian regime have died in prison
Labour reform was initiated after criticism by rights campaigners regarding treatment of migrant workers
Gunmen killed two Yemenis working for International Committee of the Red Cross north of capital Sanaa
Army claims tunnels used in militant activities inside Sinai
Many Egyptian restaurants, resorts discriminate women who chose to wear a veil
Secret US operation will be targeted at assassinating ISIL leaders
US-based watchdog accuses all warring sides of abusing both civilians, fighters
18 Turkish workers working on the olympic stadium have been kidnapped by masked men in Baghdad
Nuclear deal signed in July apparently does not change Iran's stance with regard to US
Wars and economic blockade have wiped out capacity to produce for domestic or export market while leaving ‘almost all of population destitute’, says UN body
According to UN rights official, 2,112 Yemeni civilians were killed between March 26 and Aug. 27
Self-proclaimed Jewish state arrests father of 12-year-old Palestinian boy beaten on Friday by Israeli soldier
Over same period, 5 Palestinians were killed by Israeli authorities, 230 assaulted by Jewish settlers, report finds