Head of the UN Supervision Mission to Syria (UNSMIS) Babacar Gaye addresses a press conference in Damascus, capital of Syria, on Aug. 18, 2012. Head of the UN Supervision Mission to Syria (UNSMIS) Babacar Gaye expressed comfort Saturday that the UN presence in Syria will not be stopped despite the expiry of his mission. (Xinhua/Hazim)
DAMASCUS, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- Unabated street battles continued Saturday across Syria, as the head of the expired United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) expressed frustration that the mission hasn't accomplished its main goal, the full cessation of violence.
Syria's state-run SANA news agency said Syrian government troops carried out a number of "qualitative" operations in rebellious areas on Saturday.
Government troops carried out an operation at al-Hirak area of southern Daraa province, killing a number of armed rebels' leaders and rounding up others. The troops also seeped Waer al-Lujat and tracked down armed men in al-Wardat al-Shaqranieh in the countryside of Daraa, according to the report.
In the countryside of coastal province of Latakia, government troops carried out "qualitative" operation, cleansing Kasab broadcasting station of armed men. The troops also clashed with armed insurgents at Nabe'e al-Mur and Furonluq areas at the outskirts of Latakia, said SANA.
In northern Aleppo province, government troops regained control and dislodged "armed subversive groups" from the Maisaloun Hospital area and the neighborhood of Saif al-Dawla, said SANA, adding that hefty toll was inflicted upon the armed men.
Meanwhile, the oppositional Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that approximately 140 people were reportedly killed on Saturday, 32 of whom are unarmed civilians.
An explosion rocked the al-Besheiriya neighborhood of northern Hasaka province, with the bomb targeting one of the military security branches in the city, which left two officers killed.
In the capital Damascus, rebel fighters at the Palestinian camp of Yarmouk targeted on Saturday a military bus on the 30th street, the Observatory said, adding that the bus was heading to the rebellious Hajar al-Aswad area, where incessant clashes between armed rebels and government troops are still raging on.
It said government troops stormed the Hajar al-Aswad area on Saturday evening, which left two rebels and four members of government troops dead.
In central Homs province, the Observatory said the city of al- Rastan has been under violent bombardment by regime forces, which led to several injuries. The al-Khaldieh neighborhood and al- Qadima neighborhood in Homs have also been pummeled by government troops, the Observatory said.
In the northern province of Aleppo, the town of Azaz suffered airstrikes by Syrian fighter jets on Saturday morning, with no reports of casualties so far.
It said clashes also took place Saturday in the area of Jesr al- Nayrab and in parts of the Salahuddein neighborhood in Aleppo.
The Observatory said there are also clashes with pro-regime gunmen and rebel fighters in the neighborhoods of Aqyool, al- Sayyed Ali and al-Nayyal, adding that government helicopter gunships have used their machineguns to attack the Bab al-Hadeed neighborhood.
There has been no independent confirmation on the opposition's account.
On Saturday, Babacar Gaye, head of the UNSMIS, said he was frustrated that the mission's main goal in achieving the full cessation of violence wasn't accomplished. However, he expressed comfort that the UN presence in Syria will not be stopped despite the expiry of his mission.
Gaye's remarks came a day before the end of his mission's mandate in Syria.
In a briefing to reporters, Gaye said that "the comfort for me is that the UN will stay in the country," referring to the UN Security Council's decision to establish a new civilian office in Damascus to back efforts of the United Nations and the Arab League in the hope of bringing an end to the crisis in Syria.
He said the United Nations will stay committed to ending violence and promoting dialogues among all parties.
The four-month UN observer mission in Syria was hobbled from the beginning as a result of incessant violence. The mission's mandate is expected to end at midnight Sunday.
Sources in the mission told Xinhua that all members of the mission will be out of Syria by midnight Sunday.
The United Nations has appointed veteran Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi as new special envoy to Syria to replace Kofi Annan, who declared his resignation earlier this month citing incessant violence and lack of willingness by the battling parties to bring a peaceful end to the simmering crisis.
BEIJING, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday announced the appointment of Lakhdar Brahimi, a veteran Algerian diplomat, as the new joint special envoy of the UN and the Arab League (AL) for Syria. Full story
UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-general Ban Ki- moon on Friday announced the appointment of Lakhdar Brahimi, a veteran Algerian diplomat, as the new joint special representative of the UN and the League of Arab States for Syria to replace Kofi Annan.
"The secretary-general of the United Nations is pleased, along with Secretary-general Nabil Elaraby of the League of Arab States, to announce the appointment today of Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi as their Joint Special Representative for Syria," said a statement released to the press here. Full story
UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- The President of the UN General Assembly Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser Friday welcomed the appointment of Lakhadar Brahimi, a veteran Algerian diplomat, as the joint special representative of the United Nations and the Arab League for Syria to replace former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
In his phone call Friday with Brahimi, Al-Nasser thanked him for his acceptance to undertake this crucial assignment aimed at ending the ongoing violence and bloodshed in Syria including the implementation of the relevant resolutions adopted by the general assembly, said a statement issued here by Al-Nasser's spokesperson. Full story