UN Chief Military Observer in Syria Major-General Robert Mood on Thursday stated that he believed Syrian authorities were committed to implementing the peace agreement that was reached earlier this week. Mood confirmed [UN News Centre report] that the Syrian government was serious about administering the six-point peace agreement [JURIST report] reached on Saturday, designed to aid Syria in ending the violence that has occurred in the country over the last 16 months. The agreement outlines steps that the international community and Syria must take for a successful transition, including ending violence, providing access for humanitarian groups to reach those in need, releasing detainees, beginning inclusive political dialogue and permitting unrestricted access to both Syrian and international media outlets. Mood, who works with the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) [official website], confirmed that the UN would continue to provide humanitarian support as the violence subsides. The three-month authorization of the UNSMIS officially ends on July 20, but Mood stated that the UN's commitment to Syria would remain strong.
Syria has been plagued with violence over the past year and a half, and human rights groups have blamed both the government and anti-government groups for the resulting deaths. Last week a UN commission stated that Syrian forces "may have been responsible" for the killing of more than 100 civilians [JURIST report] in Al-Houla last month. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, however, said earlier this month that the government had nothing to do with it [JURIST report] and that "not even monsters" would carry out those attacks. In April the UN Security Council approved a resolution [JURIST report] to send 300 unarmed soldiers and other humanitarian aid to supervise the implementation of a peace plan. This came after Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report [JURIST report] stating that Syrian security forces had killed more than 100 civilians and opposition fighters in recent attacks. In March, HRW also reported on and linked to videos of Syrian forces rounding up civilians [JURIST report], including women and children, and forcing them to walk in front of soldiers and tanks during troop movements and attacks so that opposition fighters would not shoot at them.