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Archive for the tag “United Nations Security Council”

Syria conflict: Rebels seize Turkey, Iraq border posts

A video image provided by opposition group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (19 Jul 2012) Video was posted on the internet of rebels defacing a poster of President Assad at the Bab al-Hawa crossing

“Syrian rebels have captured a number of positions on the country’s borders with Turkey and Iraq.

A senior Iraqi official said all the crossings on Syria‘s eastern frontier had been seized. At one point, two Turkish posts were also in rebel hands.

The push came a day after a bomb claimed the lives of three senior defence officials in Damascus.

At the UN, negotiations are under way on extending the mandate of the observer mission in Syria,

The mandate for the mission is due to expire on Friday.

There are almost 300 UN observers in Syria, but the mission suspended most of its monitoring activity in June, because of the risk from increasing violence.

The US says it might consider a final brief extension of the monitors work, but warned that it could not pin its policy on an unarmed mission.

The UK is said to be proposing an extension for a “final 30 days”.

As the situation in Syria becomes more unpredictable and violent, the diplomacy in New York is lagging behind events on the ground, says the BBC’s Laura Trevelyan at the UN.

Escalating battle

The rebels, perhaps sensing that the regime was too preoccupied with the escalating battle for the capital, stormed all the posts on the Iraqi border, the BBC’s Jim Muir in neighbouring Lebanon says.

Map

The major Abu Kamal crossing on the Euphrates river in the east was captured after a clash with government forces, opposition activists said.

More than 20 Syrian soldiers and their commander were killed when a remote army outpost in the far north-east was attacked, Associated Press news agency reported.

Iraq’s government, seen as sympathetic to President Bashar al-Assad, has threatened to shut its side of the border and one official told Reuters news agency that it was closing the Abu Kamal crossing.

On the frontier with Turkey, too, rebels were said to have taken control of two posts, at Bab al-Hawa and Jarablus.

Video from the Bab al-Hawa crossing in Idlib province soon emerged of rebels defacing a portrait of President Assad, but they later reportedly withdrew from the position.

First images

For four days, rebels have been involved in clashes in areas of the capital as they push their “Damascus volcano” operation against Syrian armed forces.

Damascus-based activist Hassan describes how people are too afraid to venture outside

The deaths of three top security officials has led to a mobilisation of government troops in an attempt to drive the rebels out of the city.

The president’s brother-in-law, the defence minister and head of the government’s crisis team were killed by a bomb as they attended a meeting at the national security headquarters.

The first images of President Assad since the attack have appeared, largely ending rumours he might have been hurt.

The footage appeared to show Gen Fahd Jassim al-Furayj, chief of staff of the armed forces, being sworn into his new post as defence minister.

Tanks and armoured vehicles were reported to have moved into Qaboun on Thursday, close to the centre of Damascus.

There were heavy casualties, activists said, as a result of an army bombardment of Zamalka in the eastern outskirts of Damascus.

Analysis

image of Laura Trevelyan Laura Trevelyan BBC News, New York

The mood inside the Security Council chamber was acrimonious after China and Russia vetoed the resolution. Britain’s ambassador accused the two nations of protecting a brutal regime by their actions. America’s ambassador said the council had failed utterly in the most important task on its agenda.

China’s ambassador denounced what he called an uneven resolution which placed pressure on one side, while Russia’s representative claimed the resolution would have opened the path to military involvement in Syria’s affairs.

Now negotiations are under way to try to extend the mandate of the UN monitoring mission in Syria which is due to expire on Friday.

The mission is supposed to monitor a ceasefire and support a political process – neither of which exist. So the UK is proposing a 30 day “final” extension.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the number of fatalities across the country on Thursday at 250.

‘Indefensible’

The pace of events in Syria was in marked contrast to the diplomatic stalemate at the UN Security Council, where Russia and China vetoed a Western resolution calling for tougher sanctions on Damascus.

Under the Western-backed plan, the Damascus government would have been threatened with non-military sanctions under Chapter Seven of the UN Charter if it failed to move troops and heavy weapons from populated areas.

But the use of Chapter Seven paved the way for “external military involvement in Syrian domestic affairs”, Russia’s UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin argued.

The UK, US and France said the UN had failed the people of Syria and UK Foreign Secretary William Hague condemned the use of the veto as “inexcusable and indefensible”.”

Map of Damascus area

Sudan vows to end fighting with South Sudan

Children carry their family's belongings as they go to Yida refugee camp in South Sudan outside Tess village in the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan, 2 May 2012
Thousands of people have fled their homes as a result of the fighting

Sudan has promised to cease hostilities with South Sudan and comply with a UN Security Council resolution.

However the foreign ministry also said that Khartoum reserved the right to respond to “aggression” from the South.

The statement came hours after Juba alleged fresh bombing by the Khartoum government’s forces.

A UN resolution on Wednesday backed an African Union plan demanding both sides cease hostilities, amid fears of an all-out war between the neighbours.

The Security Council called for a written commitment by both governments within 48 hours, and threatened sanctions if its terms were not met.

The South has already said it accepts the terms of the roadmap.

The BBC’s James Copnall in Khartoum says that both sides appear to have been brought back to the negotiating table, but tension is still high.

In a statement, a foreign ministry spokesman said Sudan would “fully commit to what has been issued in the resolution about stopping hostilities with South Sudan according to the time limits issued”.

It added that it hoped the “other party will commit to stop the hostilities completely and withdraw its troops from the disputed areas so as not to put SAF [Sudanese Armed Forces] in a situation where it has to defend itself”.

Under the roadmap, the two countries have until next Tuesday to restart negotiations and three months to reach an agreement.

Our correspondent says that while both countries have now committed themselves to the roadmap, they have also accused each other of new attacks.

In its statement, he says, Sudan pointed out the numerous ways in which it considers it has been attacked by South Sudan in the last few days.

Meanwhile, South Sudan said that Sudanese warplanes had bombed a military position in Unity state, and said that there had also been a ground attack.

The latest crisis began last month when the south seized a disputed oil field at Heglig.

Disputes over the sharing of oil revenue is a major cause of conflict between Juba and Khartoum.

South Sudan took most of the oil reserves when it seceded in July 2011, but relies on pipelines to seaports in Sudan for distribution.

The South seceded from Sudan as part of a 2005 peace treaty following two decades of civil war in which some 1.5m people died.

 

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Map showing position of oilfileds in Sudan, source: Drilling info international

Both Sudan and the South are reliant on their oil revenues, which account for 98% of South Sudan’s budget. But the two countries cannot agree how to divide the oil wealth of the former united state. Some 75% of the oil lies in the South but all the pipelines run north. It is feared that disputes over oil could lead the two neighbours to return to war.

Source- BBCΒ  News

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