It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
(visit the link for the full news article)
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told the head of the United Nations that military and police operations against anti-government protesters have stopped, according to a statement released by the Secretary-General's office.
Details of a telephone conversation between the two men were released late Wednesday, shortly before the U.N. Security Council was to be briefed Thursday on the Syrian government crackdown against protesters calling for al-Assad's ouster.
"President Assad said that the military and police operations had stopped," the statement said.
It is unclear when the conversation between al-Assad and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon took place, though the statement was released after Syria's state-run media reported security forces pulled out of the hard-hit western port city of Latakia and the eastern city of Deir Ezzor.
* NEW: State-run media reports al-Assad's reforms are not a response to foreign pressure
* The U.N. Secretary-General's office releases details of the conversation
* Ban also calls on al-Assad to allow an independent investigation, his office says
* Ban's office does not say whether al-Assad responded to the request
On August 5, Russia sent a stern warning to Syria. “We are watching how the situation is developing. It’s changing, and our approach is changing as well,” said Dmitry Medvedev in an interview to the Russian Izvestia newspaper.
Medvedev’s message was important because the only thing standing between a United Nations Security Council resolution with stronger language on Syria is Russia and China.
At the same time, Russia’s envoy to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, said the UN Security Council’s August 4 condemnation of the violence in Syria “means that the planning [of a military campaign against Syria] is well underway. It could be a logical conclusion of those military and propaganda operations, which have been carried out by certain Western countries against North Africa.”
Now comes another signal that an attack may be coming soon:
The United Nations announced Wednesday it is temporarily withdrawing some staff from Syria in light of the government’s violent crackdown on demonstrators.
Michael Williams, the U.N. special coordinator for Lebanon, said 26 non-essential international staff and their families are being relocated from Syria, the United Nations said in a release.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has spoken out in recent days against the crackdown, in which as many as 2,000 people have been killed in the last five months.