UNITED NATIONS – A convoy of unarmed UN observers came under attack in Syria, UN leader Ban Ki-moon said Monday, July 30, as he expressed mounting concern at the spiraling onslaught by government forces.
The five-vehicle convoy which was carrying UN mission chief General Babacar Gaye came under small arms fire near the protest city of Homs, a UN peacekeeping spokeswoman said.
“Fortunately there were no injuries,” Ban told reporters as he announced the attack on Sunday.
The convoy was at the village of Talbisa, traveling from the protest city of Homs when one vehicle was hit by three bullets and another by one bullet, a UN peacekeeping spokeswoman, Josephine Guerrero, told AFP.
“It was an convoy of five vehicles, which was carrying General Gaye, which came under small arms fire,” she said.
First field visit
UN officials said it was not known who had fired the shots.
Gaye told a press conference in Damascus that he had been on his first field visit since his arrival one week ago to take charge of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS).
He did not mention the shooting incident but told reporters: “During my visit to Homs, I was personally able to witness heavy shelling, from artillery and mortars, ongoing in the neighborhoods of the city.”
Ban made a new plea for President Bashar al-Assad to halt the “violent measures” of his forces in Homs and the city of Aleppo, which is the target of a major new assault.
“We are deeply concerned that they are using all sorts, all kinds of heavy equipment, including military airplanes and attack helicopters and heavy weaponry. This is an unacceptable situation,” Ban said. “The situation is getting worse and worse.” – Agence France-Presse