UNITED NATIONS, April 27 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations on Friday announced the appointment of Major General Robert Mood of Norway to head a UN ceasefire observer mission in Syria aimed at bringing an early end to the 13-month crisis in the Middle East country.
"The United Nations Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon today announced the appointment of Major General Robert Mood of Norway as the Chief Military Observer and Head of Mission of the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS)," Ban's spokesperson Eduardo Del Buey told a daily press briefing.
UNSMIS is a mission consisting of up to 300 military observers, assigned by the UN Security Council with the task of monitoring a ceasefire between the Syrian government and opposition forces. The observers are also tasked with supporting a six-point plan for peace in Syria proposed by Kofi Annan, the Arab League and UN joint special envoy for Syria.
"Major General Mood brings to his new position extensive command experience and knowledge of peacekeeping attained through service at the national and international levels, including in United Nations peacekeeping operations," said a statement about the appointment read out by Del Buey.
According to the statement, prior to his new appointment as the head of UNSMIS, the 54-year-old seasoned general was serving as inspector general veteran affairs of the Norwegian Armed Forces, a post he had held since 2011.
Previously, Mood served as the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) Head of Mission and Chief of Staff from 2009 to 2011, the statement said. From 2005 to the time of his appointment to UNTSO, he was Chief of Staff of the Norwegian Army.
Mood worked for the UN in Lebanon as well, said the statement.
"From 1989 to 1990, Major General Mood served as the operations officer with the Norwegian Battalion within the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL)," it noted.
The statement added that Mood holds a master's degree in Military Studies from the U.S. Marine Corps University, and that he has attended other military institutions including the Norwegian Army Staff College and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Defense College in Rome.
Del Buey also confirmed at the briefing that the first contingent of 30 observers would be in place by Monday in Syria.
"We are expecting the first contingent of 30 to be in place by Monday and we are working very hard to get the rest of the mission in as soon as possible," Del Buey told reporters.
In a resolution adopted unanimously on Saturday, the Security Council decided to establish for "an initial period of 90 days" the UNSMIS comprising "an initial deployment of up to 300 unarmed military observers as well as an appropriate civilian component as required by the mission to fulfill its mandate."
The United Nations said that more than 10,000 people have been killed in the 13-month crisis in Syria.