The United Nations Security Council decided on Thursday, August 16 to terminate the United Nations observer mission in Syria, where the increasingly violent rebellion against President Bashar Assad’s government has left diplomatic peacemaking efforts paralyzed, The New York Times
reported. But the Security Council agreed to keep a much smaller United Nations office in the country, holding out hope that a political solution was still possible. France’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gérard Araud, the Security Council’s current president, said all 15 members had agreed that the conditions for extending the mission — reduced violence and an end to the Syrian government’s use of heavy weapons — had not been met. The withdrawal of the observer mission represented what some diplomatic experts called an unusual acknowledgment by the United Nations that it was helpless to resolve the conflict.