Ban urges swift UN deployment in Syria

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Ban urges swift UN deployment in Syria

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United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has described the situation in Syria as “highly precarious” as a handful of observers begin their duties in the country.

The UN and the Syrian government have reached an initial agreement on the rules of deployment to monitor the ceasefire.

“We don’t want to be used as a tool for escalating the situation. So we will avoid going out on patrol on Fridays,” said Colonel Ahmed Himmiche, head of the initial UN mission in Syria.

Ban Ki-moon has called for as many as 300 observers to be part of the first wave of UN personnel on the ground, but that will require further agreement from Damascus.

Some in the UN have voiced concern about the mission, citing the failure of the Assad regime to halt the violence or order their troops back to barracks.

The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights say three people died across the country in another day of simmering violence and government forces have once again shelled the city of Homs.