UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- The UN Security Council on Wednesday welcomed an initiative for a ceasefire between the Syrian government troops and armed opposition during the Eid al- Adha holidays, and called on "all regional and international actors to use their influence on the parties concerned to facilitate the implementation of the ceasefire and cessation of violence."
The council's stance was contained in a statement read to the press here by Gert Rosenthal, Guatemala's UN ambassador who holds the rotating council presidency for October, after the 15- nation UN body met behind closed doors to hear a briefing via a video link from Cairo, Egypt, by the joint special representative of the United Nations and the Arab League for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi.
"The Security Council welcomed the important and timely initiative of the joint special representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, Lakhdar Brahimi, for a ceasefire and a cessation of violence in all its forms during the period of Eid al-Adha," the statement said.
Earlier on Wednesday, the secretary-general of the Arab League, Nabil al-Arabi, announced in Cairo that the Syrian government accepted the ceasefire initiative put forward by Brahimi, the former Algerian foreign minister, who was appointed to replace Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary-general, in September to engage in the good offices on Syria.
Brahimi, who is in Cairo after his visit to Syria, told reporters that he contacted many fighting groups in Syria, and most of them accepted the ceasefire during the Islamic holiday which starts on Friday and lasts for four days.
The Security Council echoed the appeals of UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon and Arab League chief al-Arabi to "all regional and international actors to support it (the ceasefire)," the statement said. "The members of the Security Council called upon all regional and international actors to use their influence on the parties concerned to facilitate the implementation of the ceasefire and cessation of violence."
"The members of the Security Council called upon all parties, in particular on the government of the Arab Syrian Republic as a stronger party, to respond positively to the initiative of the joint special representative and reiterated their call on the Syrian authorities to allow immediate, full and unimpeded access of the humanitarian personnel to all populations in need of assistance in accordance with international law and the guiding principle of humanitarian assistance," the statement said.
The members of the Security Council agreed that the ceasefire in the Eid al-Adha "could be the first step towards the sustainable cessation of all violence in conformity with (relevant) Security Council resolutions," the statement said.
The Security Council called upon all the parties, particularly the Syrian authorities, "to cooperate fully with the United Nations and the relevant humanitarian organizations to facilitate the provision of humanitarian assistance," the statement said.
Meanwhile, the Security Council also called upon all the UN member states "to contribute urgently to the United Nations Syrian humanitarian response plan," the statement said.
Syria has been plagued by a 19-month political crisis, which worsened the humanitarian situation in the Middle East country and resulted in a massive influx of Syrian refugees into Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq.
"Lebanon has become the third country in the region to see its population of registered Syrian refugees and people waiting for registration exceed 100,000 mark," UN spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters here Tuesday.
"As of yesterday, Lebanon had more than 101,000 Syrian refugees in the country" and "Turkey and Jordan already have refugee populations above that level, and across the region, the number has climbed to more than 358,000," Nesirky said at a daily news briefing here.
The revised 478.9-million-U.S. dollar Syria regional response plan was developed to create, "conditions for refugees to be able to cope with the challenges of bad weather and very low temperatures in the winter," the UN high commissioner on refugees, Antonio Guterres, said in an interview with Xinhua last month.
However, the revised emergency plan, which called for more funds, is "only about a third funded" and the UN agency said that "it is racing against time to ensure that hundreds of thousands of refugees are protected from the winter cold," Nesirky said.
DAMASCUS, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- A spate of blasts and clashes rattled Syria on Wednesday, drawing dim shadow over a possible cease-fire during the upcoming holiday of Muslim Eid al-Adha that will start on Friday.
A suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden car at early time Wednesday at a military checkpoint in the northern province of Raqqa, killing eight people and injuring seven, local media said. Full story
CAIRO, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian government accepted a cease-fire during the Eid al-Adha holidays, a proposal put forward by Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN-Arab League (AL) joint special representative to Syria, AL chief Nabil al-Arabi said on Wednesday during a meeting with Brahimi in Cairo.
"The Syrian authorities will issue a statement on the cease- fire Thursday," Brahimi said. Full story