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.
The five defendants were condemned to death for storming a police station in Kerdasa – a town in Egypt's Giza province
French and Qatar signed on Monday a 6.3 billion euro $7.02 billion) agreement for the sale of 24 Dassault Aviation-built Rafale fighter jets.
A Syrian senior army figure had been wounded and said five people involved in a suicide attack in the bustling central district of Rukn al Din had been killed.
More and more people were put in jail every day in contravention of freedom of speech.
French President Francois Hollande arrived in Qatar on Monday to oversee the signing of the deal to sell 24 Rafale fighter jets.
The army source told state television the security forces had killed all the members of armed group in the bustling Rukn al Din district during a chase after a suicide bomber blew himself up.
Police in Israel have fired tear gas and stun grenades in clashes with ethnic Ethiopians protesting about what they say is police brutality and racism.
Thousands of Ethiopian Jews demonstrated on Sunday in Tel Aviv to protest Israeli police's heavy-handed practices against their community.
On Friday, Kuwaiti security forces arrested al-Tabtabaie for a tweet in which he claimed that there was pressure from Tehran to sideline Kuwaiti Crown Prince Nawaf Al-Jaber Al-Sabah
Some soldiers belonging to the Saudi-led Arab coalition were deployed Saturday night in Yemen's southern province Aden, local residents have said.
Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri told there were no non-Yemeni forces fighting in Aden
According to sources, Arab troops join pro-Hadi group fighting Houthis near Aden airport
Iranian news outlets had reported that al-Jubeir stressed the importance of the Iran's "role" in the Middle East
This was the second protest to be held in Hadhramaut against Al-Qaeda.
Ofir Gendelman warned Israeli citizens on Twitter against travelling to the North African state.
Move seeks to open negotiations for end to more than a decade of conflict.