The group of Observers in Syria, as decided by UN Resolution 2043 of 21 April 2012, will include Italians. The Council of Ministers will be meeting tomorrow, 8 May, to authorise the mission of unarmed personnel to Syria.
To date, there are 24 observers on Syrian territory, with the number set to rise by the end of May to around 300. Their task, under the UN Resolution, is to verify that the ceasefire is being respected – one of the essential points of the Annan Plan to find a peaceful solution to the crisis.
Today, Monday 7 May, Syria is holding parliamentary elections that all of the opposition groups have defined as a “farce” and are therefore boycotting. The People’s Assembly has for half a century been dominated by the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, led by the current President, Bashar al Assad. Assad has been in power for 12 years, having inherited the position from his father Hafez, who in turn held the role for 30 years.
The majority of the seats (127 out of 250) are allocated to “worker” and “farmer” candidates from lists close to the regime. A minority of seats (123) is allocated to independents.
A year of revolt: 9000 victims
The people’s revolt began in March 2011 and has been subjected to bloody repression by the regime’s police and military forces. According to the UN’s figures the number of deaths, mainly civilians, over the last year is 9000 and rising.