UN Observers Leave Syria

Four-month mission a bust, and violence continues
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 20, 2012 7:52 AM CDT
UN Observers Leave Syria
United Nations observers embrace upon arrival in Damascus, Syria from Homs, as they prepare to depart the country, Monday, Aug. 20, 2012.   (AP Photo/Muzaffar Salman)

The UN's Syria observer mission officially ended last night, and monitors were seen leaving today after their four months in the country failed to bring an end to the violence. The last monitors should be out by Friday, leaving just a small liaison office in Damascus, Reuters reports. But Turkey says the UN must create a "safe zone" for refugees inside Syria—almost 70,000 have fled to Turkey, and the country only has room for 100,000, its foreign minister says.

Today is the second day of Eid al-Fitr, a major three-day Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan, but intense fighting in the country continues, the AP adds. Bashar al-Assad was yesterday seen for the first time since last month attending prayers to mark al-Eid's start; today his troops shelled Aleppo, Daraa, and a suburb of Damascus, leaving as many as 30 dead. Meanwhile, Jordan says rockets from Syria fell inside its borders, wounding a young girl yesterday; the government sent a letter of protest in response, AFP reports. (More Syria stories.)

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