Syria Live Blog
Syria - Apr 22, 2012 - 19:42
Finland announced Sunday it would deploy 10 soldiers to monitor a shaky ceasefire in Syria but military officers voiced concern that the UN observer mission was ill-defined and risky.
"A total of ten Finnish monitors will go," Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja was quoted as saying on public radio, which added that all 10 observers were to be in Syria by May 4.
Two of them, officers belonging to the UN Truce Supervision Organisation in the Middle East, are expected in Damascus in the coming days, UNTSO chief Lieutenant-Colonel Jukka Honkanen told the radio.
"The funniest thing is this scarce information... we are going somewhere to do something. We have no other information.
Let's just see what happens, but we're ready for anything," Finnish training officer Rolf Kullberg said.
The Western and Arab governments that pushed for the 300-strong observer mission approved by the UN Security Council on Saturday have voiced concern that unarmed monitors could be at risk in the Syrian chaos.
"There are always certain risks. I heard from a UNTSO colleague in Damascus that there are now gangs of armed thieves who are taking advantage of the situation in Syria," Kullberg said.
"If we position an unarmed observer support base far from occupied areas, it could be a potential target," he added.
"Apparently mines have not been heavily used, but they have tried to booby-trap entrance routes into some cities, which of course is cause for concern. We don't yet have any information about possible armoured personnel carriers from the UN," he said.
Under UN Resolution 2043, the 300 military observers will be sent to Syria for an initial period of 90 days if UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon determines it is safe for them to go.